Skip to main content

Full text of "A Sketch of the Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom"

See other formats


Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World 

This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in 
the world by JSTOR. 

Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other 
writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the 
mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. 

We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this 
resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial 

Read more about Early Journal Content at 
journal-content . 

JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people 
discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching 
platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit 
organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please 

C 191 ) 

X. — A Sketch of the Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom. By the late Sir 
John D'Oyly. — Communicated by Sir A. Jobxston, Vice-President, R.A.S., 

Read May 7, 1831. 

To Graves C. Haugston, Esq., M.A., F.R.S., Honorary Secretary to the 

Royal Asiatic Society. 

19, Great Cumberland Place, 
Sir: December 31, 1831. 

I beg leave, in answer to your letter of the 17th instant, to submit it as my opinion 
to the Council, that the Account of the Constitution of the late Government of the King- 
dom of Kandy is of sufficient interest to be published in the Proceedings of the Society. 

It appears, as well by the English translations which I caused to be made while I was 
on Ceylon of the three most ancient histories of that island, the Mahavansi, the itaja- 
valli, and the Rajaratnacarri, as by the several histories of the ancient kingdoms 
of Madura, Ramnad, Tanjore, and Trichinopoly, formerly situated in the southern 
part of the peninsula of India, that between four and five hundred years before the 
Christian era, a prince of the royal dynasty, then known by the Hindu historians as 
the Pandaean Dynasty, and then reigning over that part of the peninsula described by 
Ptolemy under the name of the Itegio Pandicmis, crossed over from the peninsula to the 
island of Ceylon; and finding it thinly inhabited, established a colony of his own people 
in the interior of the island, and introduced amongst them the same form of government, 
the same laws, and the same institutions as prevailed at that time in his native country. 
It further appears by the same ancient authorities, and by many modern histories in my 
possession, that this form of government, and that these laws and institutions, had never 
been altered or modified by any foreign conqueror, but had continued to prevail in 
their original state, from the time they were first introduced into the interior of Ceylon, 
till the year 1815, when the kingdom of Kandy was conquered by the British arms, 
and when this account of its ancient government was drawn up by the late Sir John 
D'Oyly, then chief civil officer of the British government in the town of Kandy, 
from the information of the principal officers of the- former Kandian government, who 
at that time had no motive to suppress the truth, and were perfectly competent to give 
him an authentic account of all that related to the nature and the constitution of their 
former government.* It therefore may be considered to be an authentic account, not 

* The Mahomedans, although they conquered the whole of the peninsula of India, did not ex- 
tend their conquests to the island of Ceylon. 

Vol. III. 2 C 

ig<2 Sir Josx D'Orzr's Sketch of the 

only of that ancient form of government which had prevailed in the interior of the 
island of Cevlon, without any material alteration, for upwards of two thousand two 
hundred vears, but also of that which prevailed so far back as the very commencement 
of that distant period throughout the peninsula of India, and to afford a very valuable 
picture of one of the most ancient forms of government established in Asia. 

The late Sir John D'Oyly and I were engaged, the whole time we were together on 
Cevlon, in inquiring, amongst other objects of literary and antiquarian curiosity, into 
the numerous remains which are still to be found in every part of the island of ancient 
Hindu history, laws, customs, manners, science, and literature.** Although I possess 
a great many different accounts of the Kandian government, laws, and institutions, 
some of them drawn up while the Portuguese and the Dutch held establishments on the 
island, and some since the English have been in possession of those establishments, 
I have none which give so accurate and so detailed a view of that government, and of 
those laws and institutions, as the one drawn up under the circumstances I have men- 
tioned by Sir John D'Oyly; and it was for this reason that I took the liberty, the year 
before last, of presenting it to the Society. 

Conceiving some time after that the Society might be precluded, by its length, from 

* I particularly directed my researches to such parts of the history and of the antiquities of 
the island as were connected with the state of the country between the third and the thirteenth 
centuries of the Christian era, when the immense tanks or reservoirs of water, called Kattocarre, 
Padwielcolom, Minerie, and Kandeley, in the northern districts, and the three large tanks 
in the eastern districts, together with between three and four thousand smaller tanks, were kept 
in perfect repair by the then government of the island, and formed as grand and as beneficial 
a system of irrigation as ever prevailed in any country, not excepting even Egypt, while the cele- 
brated lake Moeris was in use for regulating the inundations of the Nile. 

My view in instituting these inquiries was to obtain for his Majesty's Ministers such informa- 
tion as might enable them to carry into effect a plan which I proposed to the late Lord London- 
derry, the then Secretary of State for the Colonies, in 1809 ; the object of which was, to 
encourage European capitalists, by giving them grants upon the most advantageous terms of 
such of the government lands as were in former days highly cultivated though at present com- 
pletely waste, to introduce into Ceylon European capital, European industry, and European 
arts and sciences, and thereby restore the population, the agriculture, and the commerce of the 
island to the state of prosperity which they had attained when Ceylon, according to the con- 
current testimony of historians, had a population of between four and five millions of inhabitants, 
a system of agriculture which enabled it to supply not only its own but the population of neigh- 
bouring countries with rice and many other descriptions of grain, and a system of commerce 
which made it, for many centuries, the great emporium of all the trade which was carried on 
between the western and eastern portions of the globe. 

See the different papers upon this subject given by me to the late Lord Londonderry in 
1809, and to Lord Goderich in 1831 ; and also my two papers in the Proceedings of the 
Royal Asiatic Society: the one on a Cufic and the other on the Trincomalee Inscriptions. 

Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom. 193 

publishing it in their proceedings, and fearing that if not published it might, from 
remaining in manuscript, be mislaid and ultimately lost to the public, I lent a copy of 
it to the Editor of the Asiatic Journal, for publication in that work ; I however find 
that he has only been able to give a general view of the constitution of Kandy, and 
therefore that what is already in print on the subject does not supersede the necessity 
of publishing the whole details of an account which affords so minute and so curious 
a description of every part of that constitution of government, as in force and as 
administered, up to the very day upon which the Kandian country became a portion of 
the British territories on the island of Ceylon. 

I have the honour to be, 

Your most obedient and faithful servant, 





The power of the King is supreme and absolute. The ministers advise, 
but cannot controul his will. 

The King makes peace and war, enacts ordinances, and has the sole power 
of life and death. 

He sometimes exercises judicial authority in civil and criminal cases, 
either in original jurisdiction or in appeal. 

The acts of his government are presumed to be guided by the institutions 
and customs of his kingdom. 

Before innovations of importance are carried into effect, it is customary 
to consult the principal chiefs, and frequently the principal priests ; and 
when other matters of public moment are in agitation, the same persons are 
usually called to councils. 

The authority of the King is exercised through many officers of state. 

The principal officers employed in the administration of public affairs, are 
the three Adikarams, commonly called Adikars. 

The Desaves, or governors of provinces, chiefly situated below the moun- 

The Likams, or chiefs of departments within the mountains. 

2 C 2 

194 Sir Jobn D'Oyly's Sketch of the 

The Rate MaJiatmego, or governors of smaller districts above the moun- 

The officers attached to the King's household, the chiefs of departments 
employed in his personal service, and the principals of temples, attend also 
on many public occasions, and, in some instances, take rank above a part of 
those just mentioned ; but, for the sake of distinction, will be separately 
described after them. 

The officers are either chiefs of provinces or villages, possessing jurisdic- 
tion in their certain local limits, or chiefs of departments possessing juris- 
diction over persons dispersed in different districts or villages. 

They possess universally authority, both executive and judicial, within 
their respective jurisdictions ; two or more offices are sometimes conferred 
upon the same chief. 

They receive no stipends, but are entitled to sundry emoluments from the 
persons under them ; and, in consideration thereof, pay certain fixed annual 
tributes into the royal treasury. 

The Kandyan chiefs, and all other subjects, on approaching the King, 
make obeisance by three prostrations, and receive all his orders and make 
all communications to him on their knees. 


The highest officers of state are the two Adikars, called Pallegampahe 
and Udagampahe. They possess equal powers and privileges within their 
respective jurisdiction, but Pallegampahe Adikar has the precedence. 

By inferior chiefs and people they are distinguished by the more honour- 
able appellation of Maha Nilame, or great officer. 

The persons subject to the peculiar jurisdiction of the Adikars are : 

The Katubulle people, or the messengers who convey the King's and 
Adikars' orders, and summon persons requiring to attend them. They are 
constantly on duty, part at the palace and part at the Adikars' houses, and 
are relieved every fourteen days, with their head-man, called Korleatchile. 

The Kasakara people, or whip-crackers, who crack whips before the King 
and the Adikars, whenever they move abroad. They are of the same class 
with the Katubulle, and sometimes perform either duty ; two come on duty 
at a time, and are relieved in like manner with the Katubulle. 

The Rekatvallo, who keep guard at the great gaol in Kandy, and have 
general charge of the prisoners, and execute criminals condemned to death. 

Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom. 195 

The Rekawallo of Pallegampahe and Udagampahe serve alternately, and 
are relieved every fifteen days, with their head-man, called Darrega. 

The villages of the Katubulle and Kasakara people of Pallegampahe, and 
their numbers, are as follow :— 

Ampitye ... 22 ; under the orders of a head-man, called Korkdtchile. 

Dehideniye...lO ditto ditto ditto. 

Mavilmada...l5 ditto ditto ditto. 

Owisse 8 ditto ditto ditto. 

Allatgame > ^ ^ ^ ^ 

Ahpalla J 

Allatgame ) 2g ^ ^ ^ 

Cxampalla 3 

They attend on duty in rotation, with their Korleatchile, according to the 
above three divisions, each having fifteen days of service and thirty days of 
rest ; such persons of each division as fail in personal attendance, pay one 
ridi (about Sd.) each, of which two are allowed to the Korleatchile, and the 
rest are th e perquisite of the Adikar. 

The Korleatchile are nominated annually by the Adikar from certain 
Katubulle families, and pay from five to fifteen ridi each for the appoint- 

The villages of the Rekarcallo of Pallegampahe, and their numbers, are as 
follow : — 

Wilane ... 1 head-man, called Duraya, and 11 men. 

Mahiyawe 1 ditto and 2 men, there were formerly 7. 

Walababawe 1 ditto ditto ditto 5. 

They attend on duty with their Duraya in rotation, according to the 
above three divisions, fifteen days at a time, but alternate with those of 
Udagampahe ; since the numbers of the last two villages have been reduced, 
they assist each other when their turn occurs. They are under the orders 
of a Hirage Kankan, appointed annually from the Korleatchiles. 

There are besides at Alutgam one Bhvne Aratchy and thirty-two men, 
who perform no public duty as above, but pay certain dues to the Adikars, 
and a part of them are liable to occasional work. 

The villages of the Katubulle and Kasakara people of Udagampahe and 
their numbers are as follow : — 

19o Sir Josx B'Oylt's Sketch of the 

Peradiniya 3| Under the orders of a Korleat- 

Kotmale and \ attached to p era diniya, IS ( chile. 
Pussellawe J 

Mulfampola 14-; under a Korleatchile. 

Bowale 15 j ditto. 

Dodanwele 16) dUt0> 

Toupanahe attached to ditto 6 ) 

They attend on duty in rotation, according to the above four divisions, 
having fifteen days of service and forty-five of rest. The absentees pay 
a half-ridi each, of which two are allowed to the Korleatchile and the rest 
belong to the Adikar. The Korleatchiles are appointed annually, and pay 
ten ridi each. 

The villages of the Relcawallo of Udagampahe and their numbers are as 

follow : — 

Mapanawatura 1 Buraya and 4 men. 

Egodamura in Ataragam and Halolawe ; 1 ditto 6 ditto. 

Kahalle 1 ditto 6 ditto. 

They attend on duty in rotation with their Buraya, according to the above 
three divisions, fifteen days at a time, but alternate with those of Palle- 
gampahe. They are under the orders of a Hirage Kankan, appointed 
annually as above. 

There are also one Hexca Buraya and eight men of Gahalagamboda, 
and one Buraya and eight men of Atabage, who are obliged to perform 
certain menial service under the Adikar. 

The police of Kandy is under charge of the Adikars. For this purpose 
the town is distinguished into two parts by a line drawn through the middle 
of the street, called Sicarualcalyanawidiga ; the northern division being 
under the orders of Pallegampahe Adikar, and the southern division under 
the orders of Udagampahe Adikar ; formerly the two Hirage Kankan, and 
within the last few years of the deposed King's reign, four Widiya Araichies, 
acted as police officers under them. 

The Maha Hirage, or great gaol in Kandy, is under charge of the 
Adikars and of their immediate officers, the Hirage Kankans and Relcawallo, 
alternately for fifteen days, as above stated. 

Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom. 1 97 

The ferries on the great river of Alutgantolle, Lercelle (and formerly 
Kundasala), are under the charge of Pallegajipahe Adikar, and subordinate 
to the Adikar of the Hirage Kankan. There is one family at each ferry, 
who, according to the circumstances, paid annually from ten to fifty ridi 
each to the Adikar, and five to the Hirage Kankan. Dhonies are furnished 
by certain villages in Dumber e. 

The ferries of Ganorurve and Katugastolle are under the charge of 
Udagajipahe Adikar, and subordinate to the Adikar of the Hirage Kankan. 
At Ganoruxe the duty is performed by two or four inhabitants of the neigh- 
bouring village, who pay annually from 300 to 500 ridi to the Adikar, and 
40 or 50 to the Hirage Kankan. The Dhonies are furnished by the four 
Katubulle villages at TJdagampahe. At Katugastolle the duty is executed 
by three or four Rekawallo, who pay annually from 400 to 600 ridi to the 
Adikar, and 150 or 200 to the Hirage Kankan. The Dhonies are furnished 
by the people of Harispatta. 

The ferrymen enjoy no lands for this service, but make the above pay- 
ment in consideration of the profits. 

All persons pass the ferries to Kandy free of payment. Persons passing 
into the country from Kandy pay one pice or four challies each, with the 
exceptions of persons attached to the King's household ; of great chiefs and 
priests, with their followers ; of messengers proceeding on duty ; and of 
persons who, according to custom, deliver annually to the ferrymen at 
harvest-time a certain quantity of paddy, or other produce, in lieu of pay- 
ment every time ; and of the inhabitants of Harispatta and the hither part 
of Dumbere, who furnish Dhonies : the former to Katugastolle, the latter 
to Alutgantolle and Lewelle. 

The Adikars also possess a general jurisdiction over the whole of the 
Kandyan provinces, according to the following partition : — 

A part of the western, the northern, the eastern, and part of the southern 
provinces, are subject to the authority of the first Adikar, consisting of the 
seven Korles Urea, Matele Walapane, Wellasse, Bintenne, Nawerekalaxciga, 
Tamankada, Harispatta, Dumbere, and Hewaheti. 

The greater part of the western and southern provinces are under the 
authority of the second Adikar, consisting of the four Korles, three Korles, 
Sqffragam Korles, Udapalata Udanaivere, Yatenawere, Junpanahe Kotmale, 
and Bulatgame. 

1 9S Sir John D'O yl r's Sketch of the 

This jurisdiction, however, is of a very limited nature, and is exhibited 
principally in the following instances : — 

The Katubulle messengers of Pallegampahe convey orders and summon 
persons within all the provinces belonging to the first division. 

The Katubulle messengers of Udagampahe within all the provinces of 
the second division ; and never vice versd, except that, when an urgent order 
is to be expedited, or when a first order has been disobeyed, two mes- 
sengers, one from each class, are despatched together. 

When in any civil or criminal case, which is difficult of decision, the 
chief of a province or department makes reference for advice, or when the 
parties themselves complain, the Adikar, within whose jurisdiction the case 
arises, hears and decides, or refers to higher authority. 

"When any matter not judicial, or any difficulty in the execution of his 
duty is brought to notice by the chief, or by others, the Adikar, within 
whose jurisdiction it occurs, gives his councils aid and support, or, if ne- 
cessary, refers it to higher authority. 

The fee of two ridi, paid upon discharge by prisoners confined in the 
Maha Hirage, is the right of the Adikar within whose jurisdiction the 
prisoner is an inhabitant. 

The written oaths for swearing by oil, are granted by the Adikar within 
whose jurisdiction the case arises, in the districts situated within the 

Honours and Privileges. 

In the King's presence, and on all other public occasions, the two 
Adikars have the precedence. 

The Adikars, whenever they move, are preceded by persons cracking 

No person can remain in the verandas of houses, and all must give wax- 
as they pass. 

No person, of whatever rank, below the royal family, can sit when the 
Adikars are standing. 

No person can ride on an elephant, horse, or in a palanquin, whilst the 
Adikars are on foot. 

If a Desave visit the Adikar in his desavony* he must cease beatinf 
tomtoms within sight of his residence. 

* District. 

Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom. 199 

If the Adikar pass through the desavonies of another, he precedes, and 
the Desave follows two or three miles behind with tomtoms. 

The Adikars cannot use tomtoms in Kandy, nor in any other province 
than their respective desavonies. 

Without special leave they cannot ride in palanquins, on an elephant or 
horse within the river, nor any where in attendance on the King. 

When the Adikars are at the palace all public communications to the King 
are usually made through them. 

The King's orders for performing public works at the palace in Kandy, 
or in the country, are usually conveyed to the proper chiefs and authorities 
through the Adikars*. 

The King's general orders to the people are communicated to the inha- 
bitants of Kandy, and to the head men of the provinces residing in Kandy, 
by the Adikars. 

The King's orders are conveyed to chiefs resident in the provinces by olas, 
written to them in the name of the first Adikar, if he be in Kandy ; in his 
absence by the second Adikar, and, in the absence of both, by the chief next 
in rank. 

The Adikars are particularly charged with conducting the public festivals 
and the repair of temples, the catching of elephants in Kandy, and per- 
sonally superintending these, and other public works- 

They are charged with the repair of the streets, and with every work con- 
tributing to the beauty and cleanliness of the town. 

In superintending the performance of any of these works in Kandy, they 
have- power to imprison and punish any head men of the provinces for 
neglect or disobedience, except persons belonging to the King's household or 
court, and those only upon representation to the King. 

When cases of importance are heard by the King himself or by the Great 
Court, the Adikars are present. 

The Adikars hold the first seats in the Great Court of Justice called Maha 
Naauwa, take the leading part in the proceedings, are the principal re- 
porters to the King, and give the sitta or ola of decision. 

All sentences of corporal punishment by the Ki ng'sorders are executed 
in their presence. 

In suits of land the Adikars have power to sequester lands and crops. 

The Adikars have the exclusive power of causing punishment to be in- 
flicted with the cane. 
Vol. III. 2 D 

200 Sir Jobx D'Orzr's Sketch of the 

■ They have the exclusive power of granting the written oath for swearing 
bv oil, and of granting the written decrees called sitta, in all cases which 
arise in the districts situated within the mountains. 

The Adikars are usually consulted by the King upon the appointment of 
all other chiefs, upon the appointment of chief priest, upon grants of lands, 
or rewards for services. 

Grants of lands by the King's orders are signed by the Adikars. 

Sannasses, or royal grants, are delivered to superior favourite chiefs by 
the King himself; the same to all other persons by the Adikars, in the 
King's presence. 

The ceremony of conferring titles, by tying a metal plate on the forehead, 
is performed according to the same rule. 

.A cane, curved at the top, is the Adikar's peculiar staff of office, and is 
delivered into their hands upon their appointment. It was formerly a painted 
cane with silver head and ferrule, but a cane entirely cased with silver was 
adopted by the deposed King. 

The Katubulle messengers cany in their hands, as an emblem of office, 
a silver-headed cane, curved at the top. 

When they carry the King's orders to a Desave, residing in his desavony, 
they receive, besides provisions, five ridi in token of respect. 

"Wheresoever they go they are furnished with provisions gratis; and, except- 
ing in the houses of persons of rank, a stool, or elevated place, is spread 
with white cloth, and their cane deposited upon it whilst they remain. 

The Katubulle people annually deliver certain rice duties into the royal 
stores, called Maha Gabadatze. 

The Adikars pay annually into the royal treasury a sum of 500 ridi each, 
being their tribute called Dakam,. in consideration of the privileges and 
emoluments above-mentioned. 

When one Adilcar is absent from Kandy, his ministerial duties devolve 
upon the other. 

For .the better support of their dignity, a desavony is usually conferred 
upon each Adikar, and sometimes other offices ; in which case, besides the 
foregoing, they perform all the duties and enjoy all the honours, privileges, 
and emoluments of a Desave, or such other offices. 

Division of the Kingdom-. 
The Kandyan kingdom consisted of twenty-one grand divisions, of which 

Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom. 201 

the twelve principal are called desavonies, and the majority of the rest, 
rate, and they may properly be denominated districts. 

The desavonies were each placed under the orders of a chief, or governor, 
called Desave, and are as follow : — 

The Four Korles, Walapana, 

The Seven Korles, Udapalala, 

Urea, Naxcerekalatciga, 

Matele, Wellasse, 

Sqffregam, Bintenue, 

The Three Korles, Tamankada. 

. The other nine districts were respectively under the authority of chiefs, 
who, except the two last, were distinguished by the name of Rati Mahat- 
meya, and are as follow : — 

Udanuwere, Hewahete, 

Yatinuwere, Kotmale, 

Tunpanahe, Uda, or Upper Buiatgame, 

Harispattu, Fata, or Lower Buiatgame. 


The Four Korles. 

The provinces, or desavony, called the Four Korles, extend westward 
from the mountains which limit the high country of Ceylon to the frontier 
of the maritime provinces. Its mean extent, from east to west, may be 
estimated at about twenty-six English miles ; from north to south about 
fourteen English miles. 

It is bounded on the east by a range of mountains which separate it from 
Tunpanahe, Yatinuwere and Udapalala, of which the principal points, ex- 
tending south from Alagolle Kanda, are Balani, Kande, Maragaha, Eyla, 
Kaduganawe, Nilcahetiye, or Alpile Kande, and Ambuluwane Kande. 

On the south-east and south it is separated from Dolosbage by a branch 
of the same range, in which the principal hills are Naalle Kande, Rahale- 
gale, and Murute Kande. 

On the south, from Lower Buiatgame and the three Korles, by a less 
mountainous limit, in which the principal points are Alkedina, Gala Kaha- 

2 D 2 

202 Sir Joxx D'Otlt's Sketch of the 

pitiyekele Henna, Etgale, Ovita, Dunvmadalagahagavja Henna, the Gravel 
of Kotikakumbure, on the great road to Colombo, Ilukmodere and Gala- 

On the west from the Hina Korle and Hapitigam Korle, by a line in 
which the principal points are Tittawel, Makande, the Gravet of Dum- 
moladiniya, the Gravet of Wahawihnwita, and Algam Kande. 

On the north from the seven Korles by the mountains Parape Kande, 
Galadinikada Kimde, Siruwangalla, and the river Malta Oye which falls into 
the sea at the ferry of Kaymel, several miles north of Negombo. 

The four Korles from which the province derives its name, and the 
smaller districts, Patlu and Palata, into which each Korle is divided, are as 
follow : — 

1st Galboda Korle contains five Pattu : Galboda Pattu, Meda Pattu, Ga- 
ney Pattu, Egoda Pattu, Tanippera Pattu. 

2d. Paranalcurua Korle, Malta Palata, Ganltate Palata, Kumbulgam 
Palata. Handupanduna Korle is a part of Paranakurua, and consists of 
Kandua Patlu, and Mawata Patlu. 

3d. Kindigoda Korle contains Medde Medeliga Pattu, W algam Pattu, 
Deyala Dahamune Pattu. 

4tb. Beligal Korle, Kerawale Pattu, Kandapite Pattu, Otara Pattu, Gan- 
dololta Pattu. 

The several classes of inhabitants, the head men appointed over them, 
and the service and duties to which they are liable, are as follow : — 

1st. The Atapaltu people hold the first rank. 

They are subject to the orders of five headmen, who cause all duties to 
be performed by them, viz. one Atapattu Lekam over the whole, and four 
Aratchies, one in each Korle. 

The Aratchies are called also Peramdne Pale, because they go in front 
immediately attending the great banner of the desavony. 

The Atapattu people perform Mura, i. e. attend on duty at the house of 
the Dcsave, in rotation, according to the three following divisions : — 

1st. Those of Galboda Korle and Kindigoda Korle together; 2d. Those 
of Paranalcurua Korle ; 3d. Those of Beligal Korle, and the term of duty 
is thirty days each time. 

Thus every person is liable to one month of service and two of rest, or 
serves four months and rests eight months within the year. 

The number of Atapattu people who actually come on duty varies, ac- 

Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom. 203 

according to the exigency of the service, and the numbers liable ; it is 
usually from about twenty to fifty. 

The rest pay a fixed fine or commutation of money, called mura ridi, 
being two ridi each person for the fixed term of thirty days. 

Of these defaulters, ten persons, or rather the commutation paid by 
them, are given up to the Atapattu Lekam, and five to the Aratchies. The 
rest is the perquisite of the Desave. But certain persons, who are opulent, 
in each Korle, are accustomed to deliver, instead of the mura ridi, a load 
of rice (equal to about twenty-five measures) ; and the Aratchy usually 
obtains rice from the five sufficient for his subsistence during his term of 
duty in Kandy. 

The Atapattu people keep guard in a building appropriated to them near 
the Desave? s house, called Atapattu Madame, where they have in charge 
the great banner, the Lekam Mittiye (records), the Mura Awnda (arms), 
and have the custody of prisoners confined there. 

Their principal duty is to convey the Desave's orders throughout his 
desavony, and to call all persons whose attendance he requires, either in 
judicial matters, or for service, or for the collection of revenues. 

They attend the Desave wheresoever he goes abroad, and one of their 
number carries the great banner on public occasions, and the Mura Awnda 
when he goes to the palace or elsewhere. 

Since the time of Desave Leake they have assisted in dragging timbers 
for public works, but it is not considered their proper duty. 

They prepare withes, and weave olas when required for buildings. 

They punish offenders with the open hand under the Desave's orders, 
and hold them whilst punished with rods by the Koditawaka people. 

They gather and carry flowers and other offerings to the temples. 

When the Desave first comes into his province, they all furnish him, one 
turn only, with adakka, or dressed provisions. 

When the Atapattu Lekam proceeds upon service into any Korles, or the 
Atapattu Aratchies into their respective Korles, they are supplied with 
adakka by the Atapattu people. 

The Atapattu people are not liable to the payment of kada rqjakareya 
(provisions) or any other duties to the King. 

The principal people of the desavony hold Atapattu lands; and, on 
account of its respectability, many persons belonging to the two classes 

204 Sir Jonx D'Oyly's Sketch of the 

next mentioned have, by favour of the Desaves, been at different periods 
enrolled in this department. 

2d. The Garrvwasum people hold the second rank. They are under the 
orders of the head men, called Korales, Kankans, and Atukorales, who are 
appointed in the several Korles and Pattus, as follow : — 

In Galboda Korle. 

Galboda Pattu 1 Korale, 1 Kankan, and 1 Atukorale, 

Meda Pattu 1 ditto, and 1 ditto, 

Ganey Pattu 1 ditto, and 1 ditto, 

Egoda Pattu 1 ditto, and 1 ditto, and 1 Kankan 

for the three last mentioned Pattus. 

A Mohottale, whose peculiar duty it is to collect pandura mila (fines) 
and superintend the Desave's Gabada gan (farm). 

Paranakurua Korle;. 1 Korale, 1 Kankan, and 1 Atukorale over the 
three Palata. 

A Lekam, who collects the pandura mila and superintends the Desave's 
Gabada gan. 

Handupanduna Korle. 

Kanduha Pattu 1 Korale and 1 Kankan, 

Mawata Pattu 1 ditto and 1 ditto, and 1 Atukorale for the 

two Pattus. 

Kindigoda Korle. 

Medde Medeliga Pattu 1 Korale, 1 Kankan, and 1 Atukorale, 

Walgam Pattu 1 ditto, and 1 ditto, 

Deyala Bahamune Pattu ... 1 ditto and, Atukorale, and 1 Kankan for the 
two last Pattus. 

A Lekam, who collects the pandura mila. 

Betigal Korle. 

KirarcalePattu 1 Korale, and 1 Atukorale, 

Kandupite Pattu 1 ditto, and 1 ditto, 

Otara Pattu 1 ditto, and 1 ditto, 

Gandoloha Pattu 1 ditto, and 1 ditto. 

Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom. 205 

A Mohottale, who collects and sends the King's and Desave's revenues, 
and superintends the desavony Gabada gan villages in the whole Korle. 

The Gamwasam people have no mura, or regular and constant rotation 
of duty at the Desave's house. 

They drag timbers for the public service, or for the Desave's use, in 
Kandy or in the desavony, and for this purpose attend at such time and in 
such numbers as the occasion requires. 

They deliver into the royal store, Maha Gabadawe, the duties called 
rada ragakariya. Each village being subject to the payment of a Icada, or 
pingo. A kiraxcala, or half kada, according to a taxation in the Lekam 
Mittiye, or Ola record of the Maha Gabadaxce. Each kada consists of 
twelve ney/i (or measures) of rice and cocoa-nuts, and the kirawala is half 
that quantity. 

In the greater part of the Beligal Korle this duty is paid in cash at the 
rate specified in the Lekam Mittiye, of twenty-two taltia, or pice, for one kada. 

They deliver duties to the Desaves, called walanive kada provisions, pre- 
cisely of the same nature with those payable into the Maha Gabadawe, but 
inferior in amount. 

They pay annually to the Desave, pandura mila, being a duty of twenty 
futta per each kada. 

Both the foregoing are payable from the Korle Gamwasam ^official 
villages), and not from the Minda Gamwasam (private villages). 

They furnish daily by rotation of korles and pattus, adukku, or dressed 
provisions, for the Desave and followers ; and peghidum, or raw provisions, 
for the Desave himself, so long only as he is resident in the desavony upon 

They furnish adukku (provisions) to their respective Korales whilst tra- 
velling within the korle, or pattu, upon public service, either collecting 
duties, or assembling people, or superiutending their labours. 

3. The Hiwa, or Mohandiram Wasam people. 

They were originally under the orders of distinct Mohandirams, but of 
late years have in most instances been placed under the Korles. 

The Mohandiram and the head men of this class are as follow : — 

In Galboda Korle. 
Galboda Pattu ; 1 Mohandiram, which office is sometimes vested in the 
Korale and Hewa Aratchy. 

206 Sir Jobk D'Oyly's Sketch of the 

Ganey Pattu and Meda Pattu ; 1 Hewa Aratchy for the two pattus, and 

sometimes one for each : the Hewa Wasam people being subject to 

the orders of the two Korales. 
Egoda Pattu ; 1 Hewa Aratchy : the people being subject to the orders 

of the Korale. 
Taneppera Pattu; Mohandiram (who is also called Korale'); 1 Hewa 

Aratchy and 1 Atukorale Atchile, appointed by the Mohandiram to 

convey his orders. 

In Paranakurua Korle. 

One Hewa Aratchy over the Hewa Wasam people of the three Palata, 
who are subject to the orders of the Korale. 

In Handapanduna Korle. 

One Aratchy over the Hewa Wasam people of the two pattus, who are 
under the orders of the Korales. 

In Kindigoda Korle. 

One Hewa Aratchy for the Hewa Wasam people of the three pattu, who 
are under the orders of the Korales. 

One Mohandiram aud 1 Hewa Aratchy over Hangawela Walpola Mo- 
handiram Wasam. 

In Beligal Korle. 

Four Hewa Aratchies (i. e. over the Hewa Aratchy Wasam people of 
each pattu, who are subject to the orders of the Korales), 1 Mohan- 
diram (no Aratchy over the Gardeye Mohandiram Wasam,} the people 
of which are dispersed in all the four pattus. 

The Hewa Wasam people perform mura ; i. e. attend upon duty in 
rotation with their Aratchies according to the same three divisions of 
korles, and for the same periods as the Atapattu people. 

The number of those who actually come on duty varies usually from 
* to * according to the exigency of the service ; the rest pay two 
mura ridi each in lieu of service, whereof two, three, or four are allowed 
to the Korale, or Mohandiram and Aratchy, one to the Hewa, or Alukorls, 
and the remainder is the perquisite of the Desave. 

* Omitted in the MS. 

Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom. 207 

They keep guard, not at the Desave's house, but at the Danda Maduwe, 
or building appropriated to the storing of the King's timber in Kandy. 

They fell timbers in the forests for the King's or the Desave's service. 
Of late years they have been employed also in dragging or carrying 
timbers, but formerly it was not considered as their proper duty. 

They cut wall timbers and plane them, and thatch public buildings, or 
the Desave's house. 

They carry the alkade, or small banners, of the desavony, in public pro- 
cessions, and when the Desave travels. 

They are not liable to the payment of kada rqjakareya, or any other 
duties, to the King. 

The Kodituwakku, or Ginjal people (artillery). 

They are people of the low caste, called Padawas, and reside only in four 
villages ; viz. Kadagamma and Hewadewala in the Kindigoda Korle; Elagalla 
and Henapola in the Galboda Korle. 

The people of Kadagamma are under the orders of a Mohandiram, and of 
a head man of their own caste, called Duraya. 

The people of Hewadewala are under the orders of a Mohandiram, and 
of two head men of their own caste, called Maha Duraya and Hewa 

The people of Elagalla and Henapola are jointly under the orders of a 
Mohandiram and a Duraya. 

They perform mura, or attend on constant duty at the Desave's resi- 
dence, with their respective Mohandirams and Durayas, in rotation, accord- 
ing to the above three divisions, for the term of thirty days each, and the 
absentees pay two mura ridi, which are applied in the manner above stated. 

They keep guard at the building called Koditawakka Madame, where 
the ginjals of the desavony are kept, and have custody of the more atrocious 
prisoners who are committed to them. 

They are sometimes sent into the country to seize criminals and refrac- 
tory persons ; to carry ginjals before the Desave when he travels, and on 
all public occasions. 

They dig and carry earth and stones, provide medicinal herbs when 
required from the jungle, and perform other menial labour for the King's 
or the Desave's service ; but neither fell nor drag timbers, nor furnish fire- 
wood or water for his household. 

Vol. III. 2 E 

20S Sir Join? D'Oyzy's Sketch of the 


The Kala Hexva Mohandiram people. 

They are all Padarvas, disposed in different villages, and subject to the 
orders of a Mohandiram, and, under him, of a Duraya of their own caste. 

They attend on duty in Kandy once in three months, in rotation, with 
the two Bulgarmvala Mohandiram Wasam people mentioned below, and 
serve three days at a time. 

They perform menial labour for the King's or the Desave's service, which 
chiefly consists in bringing and preparing the domestic materials for 

When the Desave is in his desavony they keep guard at a gravet, near 
his residence ; when he travels it is their duty to move on both sides of his 
palanquin, in the jungle near the road ; they execute condemned criminals 
(which rarely occurs) within the desavony. 

The two Bulgam-oala Moliandiram people. 

They are of the low caste, called Berawaya, and reside in the four 
villages Genihalpitiya, Ballatgomuwa, Fellake, and Kalahugoda, in the Para- 
nakurua Korle. 

The two first villages are subject to one Mohandiram, the two last to 
another ; but sometimes all four are placed under one head man of 
their own caste, called Halawaliya, who is appointed over them, one in 
each village. 

They attend on duty at Kandy in rotation with the Kala Hewa Mohan- 
diram people, and perform the same menial services for the King ortheDe- 
save as above stated, except that of executioners. 

The people of the two first villages occasionally carry the hinder part of 
the Desave's palanquin. 


These are people of low caste, inhabitants of the five following villages, 
called the Desave Gabada Gan* viz. Pannenicwa Padidora, Mawana, Kaxvuda- 
■xuLle, Dorawaka, Ballapana. 

They are under the orders of five separate Fidans, appointed by the 
Desave, and of petty head men, Durayas, and HaUrwaliyas, of their own 
caste, within each. 

* Sec p. 204. 

Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom. 209 

One or two men from each village are constantly on duty at the Deserve?* 
house in Kandy, where a distinct head man, called Hitaxcila Vidan, is ap- 
pointed to control them and superintend their work. 

They are employed in many menial labours at the palace, or at the 
Desave's house, consisting chiefly in the repair and cleansing of buildings 
and courts. When an important work is undertaken, a greater number of 
the inhabitants are called to Kandy. They cultivate royal fields within 
their respective villages, as will be notified hereafter. 

The Kottalbadde or Artificers* Department* 

These persons. have been sometimes placed by the King under the orders 
of a separate chief, called Fata Rate Kotalbadde Nilame, but now frequently 
are under the Desave, who appoints a Vidan over them. 

They consist of the following classes : — 

Seven fVadawa or carpenters, under the orders of a head man, called 
Mulecharaya, appointed by the King, upon the Desave's recommendation, 
who perform all carpenter's work for the King or Desave, and are usually 
employed at the Dandu Madiewa in Kandy. Five liyana fVadatva or turners. 
Five Hittaru, or painters. Fourteen I'xadatsa^ or arrow makers, under a 
head man called Hangidiya. 

They manufacture and paint bows, arrows, spear shafts, banner staves, 
and walking sticks, and two of them perform service in the Runcxcada 
Mandape (royal store of arms). 

Fourteen Atapattu Kareya, who furnish or execute fine work, and are 
principally employed in ornamenting or inlaying locks, guns, knives, handles, 
&c, with gold, silver, or brass ; two of them perform service in the Runa- 
wada. Mandape. 

. Four Badallo,. or silversmiths, under the orders of a Mohandiram, who 
perform any gold, silver, brass, or copper works, and two of them perform 
service in the Ranawada Mandape. 

One Galzuaduwa, or stone cutter ; twenty mura AtcJiario, or blacksmiths, 
under the orders of a Hangidiya and Atu Hangidiya, a certain number of 
them, varying according to the exigency of the service, attend con- 
stantly in Kandy, and, erecting workshops near the Desave's house, exe- 
cute all kinds of common iron-works, for which the metal is furnished to 

Eight blacksmiths, without regular service lands, under the orders of a 

o £ a 

210 Sir Jorx D'Otlt's Sketch of the 

Hangidiya, who appear before the Desave, at the new year, with a knife 
and scissors each, and are called to service only upon emergencies. 

Ten Desave blacksmiths, under a Hangidiya, who work for the Desave only. 
But these three classes of blacksmiths are sometimes placed under the same 
Hangidiya and Atu Hangidiya. 

All the above artificers, except the blacksmiths last-mentioned, perform 
either particular works directed by the King, or works belonging to public 
buildings allotted to the desavony, or any works required by the Desave. 

The Badahilabadde, or Potters' Department. 

In Galboda Korle and Paranakurua Korle are eight potters, under the 
orders of a Vtdan of their own caste appointed by the Desave. 

In Kindigoda Korle and Beligal Korle are fourteen under another Fidan, 
nominated in the same manner ; but sometimes one Vidan is appointed over 
the potters of the three last Korles. 

The potters of the first division attend on duty in Kandy during one 
month, at the Maha Gabadaxce, and are then relieved by those of the second 
division, who serve one month more. During this period they are obliged 
to furnish as many earthen vessels as are required for the Maha Gabadawe, 
and to make tiles and bricks, and perform any other potters' work required 
for the King's service. 

At their departure from duty, each division supplies one hundred earthen 
vessels to the Desave' s house. 

This two months' duty is performed in rotation with the potters of the 
upper districts, the Seven Korles, Uwa, and Matele, and this occurs once in 
ten months. 

In the desavony they are bound to furnish tiles, bricks, and all kinds of 
pottery for the Desave' s use, and earthen vessels to the different rest houses, 
when the King or Ambassadors come into the desavony. 

When many tiles and bricks are ordered for the King's service, the people 
of Syambalangomuwe and Godagame are called to furnish firewood. 

The Herca Wasam people erect the necessary buildings. 

Radabadde, or Washers' Department 

The washermen reside in all parts of the desavony, but are not a very 
numerous class. 
They are under the orders of five head men, called Vidane Heneya, 

Constitution of the Kandy an Kingdom. 211 

appointed in the Galboda Korle, Paranakurua Korle, Handapandana 
Korle, Kindigoda Korle, and Beligal Korle, who have authority each over 
the people of their respective Korles. 

But occasionally the washers of two Korles are united under the orders of 
one Vidane Heneya. 

They attend in Kandy on duty for three months, at the beginning of the 
Singalese year, the other nine months' service being performed in rotation 
by the washermen of the seven Korles of the upper districts, and of Martele, 
three months each. 

Their duty consists in hanging cloths in the Maha Gabadawe, and in the 
different apartments of the palace, in furnishing clean cloths for the tem- 
porary use of the principal attendants of the palace ; torches and rags for 

All come at the commencement of the mura to hang the cloths, after 
which, according to arrangements among themselves, one or two Vidane 
Heneya, and a competent number of washermen, remain to perform the 
duty during the period of three months. 

In the desavony they are obliged to hang cloths constantly in the Desave's 
house, and in all rest houses, temporarily erected for the King's Ambassa- 
dors or the Desave, and in houses prepared for the reception of the Atapattu 
Mohoitale and Ko rales. 

The cloths are provided by themselves, from the emoluments to which 
they are entitled by custom from the inhabitants of the desavony whom they 
serve, consisting of cloths, paddy, or money ; or, if these be insufficient, by 
other means. 


These are an inferior class of carpenters, and consist of only six families, 
under the orders of a Vidan. 

Their duty consists in furnishing for the public festivals in Kandy a fixed 
number of couches, stools, and baskets of various kinds, woven with rattans, 
and besides as many baskets as may be occasionally demanded for the 
King's or Desave's service. 

They deliver these articles to the Desave, who sends them to the proper 
department in Kandy. 

The Kuruwe or Elephant Department. 
The Kuruwe department is sometimes placed under the Desave of the 

2 1 2 Sir Jomx D'Orz r's Sice ten of the 

four Korles; but is sometimes conferred as a separate office, by the King, 
upon another chief of rank, who is then called Kuncxve Lekam % and by 
inferiors, Kururve Desave. 

A Vidan is appointed by the Desave or Lelcam over all the Kurwce 
people, and under him are three Kankans, who convey his orders to the 
people, viz. one for Paranalcvrua Korle, one for Galboda and Kindigoda 
Korle, and one for Beligal Korle respectively. 

Their duty consists in taking and taming wild elephants, and in keeping 
tame elephants committed to their charge. 

In the Kindigoda Korle are three villages, called Pannegam, of low caste 
people, under seven head men called Durayas. The Durayas erect the 
panti or elephant stalls, and the people furnish fodder to the ele- 

There are ten Galladdo, and under them two Patabendo, and thirteen 
Panikka in their respective villages, whose general and ordinary duty con- 
sists in taking care of decoy elephants. These are suffered to roam and pas- 
ture in the jungle with their hind legs loosely tied together, and are brought 
in by their keepers once in three or four days, and their legs being untied, are 
bathed for two or three hours in a pool, and then turned into the jungle with 
their legs coupled as before. 

When wild elephants are ordered to be caught, they collect the decoy 
elephants, and proceeding with them into the jungle, unite them with the 
herd ; and with the aid of the Panikkale mentioned below, drive them into 
the leraal and secure them, and tie them in the stall. 

There are besides, independent of the Galladdo, sixteen other Panikkale, 
who assist in driving the elephants into the leraal and securing them ; and 
from the moment of tying them in the stall, undertake the sole charge of 
them, and tame them, which is usually accomplished in from six to twelve 
months. After taming, the tusked elephants are sometimes sent to Kandy, 
and sometimes remain in their custody ; the rest are usually delivered to the 
Galladdo ; and, occasionally, tusked elephants not caught in the four Korles 
are delivered to the charge of these Panikkale by the King's order. 

When elephants are ordered to be caught, the Kuruxce people are usually 
placed under the orders of the Desave, because the assistance of the des- 
avony people is required. 

A gala, or enclosure, is constructed by the people of the desavony, with 
piles from about eighteen to twenty-four inches in diameter and nine or ten 

Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom. 213 

feet above the ground, strengthened by four cross bars of cocoa-nut or 
other trees from ten to fifteen inches diameter. 

It is usually of quadrangular form in plain ground, but sometimes cir- 
cular or irregular, according to the nature of the spot selected, and contains 
a space of two or four acres. Within this area a rude platform is prepared 
upon a tree, or, if there be none convenient, upon a pillar planted for the 
purpose, in which four or five men are stationed with cords and nooses ; 
two gateways are left in the gala, about ten feet wide and nearly opposite 
to each other, in order that the elephants, when driven, may suppose that 
there is a clear passage through- 

A herd of wild elephants having been found, the Galladdo and their 
people collect their decoy elephants, of which the greater part should be 
females, and proceeding into the jungle unite them with the wild herd. 

People of all classes within the desavony are called out and form a circle, 
or rather an irregular line, surround the elephants, and keep constant 
guard with guns, lances, long pointed poles called rititi, and swords, stand- 
ing at intervals of one or two fathoms from each other in open or small 
jungle ground, and of ten or fifteen fathoms if there be the aid of rocks or 
steep places difficult for elephants to pass. They erect small huts of talapdt 
leaves for shelter, and sometimes strengthen their position by a fence of 
trees felled on the spot, and deter the approach of the elephants by bran- 
dishing their weapons and by threats, and by fires kindled throughout the 

The hunt usually lasts from one to seven or eight days, according to the 
distance of the wild elephants from the gala, and the facility of driving them, 
and at each day's advance the guards of the line close in. If there be a re- 
markably refractory elephant, they sometimes shoot him ; but this necessity 
seldom occurs. 

In the mean time the Kuruxce people remain constantly in the jungle, 
near the elephants, armed only with henda and ritili, and partly lead- 
ing the wild herd by means of decoy elephants, and partly impelling 
them by voices, incitements, and the menace of weapons, thus drive 
them gradually to the gala, and as soon as they have entered, the gateways 
are suddenly closed by cross bars. 

The men stationed in the tree now lay their nooses on the ground, and 
entice the elephants, both tame and wild, around it, by casting down fodder, 
particularly plantain trees, of which they are fondest ; and as soon as the 

2 14 Sir JoffX D'O yl r's Sketch of the 

foot of any chosen elephant has been set within a noose, it is pulled up and 
drawn tight to the leg, the other end being secured to the tree. The 
animal being thus confined is thrown upon his other three legs, and there- 
fore with less difficulty, either from the tree or from the ground, under the 
protection of the tame elephants, is bound between two tame elephants, 
led out of the gala, and securely fastened in the stall. 

Sometimes, in the construction of a gala, which is a laborious work, a 
proper place is chosen in the jungle, and a tree or pillar prepared with 
platform and nooses, the elephants are driven to it by the Kuruwe people, 
with the aid of the desavony people, and entrapped by the nooses in the 
manner above described. But this method is uncertain ; because, if the 
first attempt fail, the wild elephants usually run off to a distance, and 
seldom one can be secured then. 

Sometimes, for the King's diversion, the Kurwwe people of the four 
Korles drive into Kandy wild elephants mixed with the decoy elephants ; 
and a pillar being planted in the centre of the great square, one or more of 
the best elephants are taken in the manner before described. 

Sometimes, also, for the exhibition of an elephant fight, a large high- 
mettled elephant is driven into Kandy, and is met on the opposite side of 
the great square by another from Matale or Kingale. They are incited to 
contest by their respective keepers, and, if necessary, their anger and 
jealousy are stimulated by the introduction of female elephants between 
them ; they advance into the centre of the square and join battle, seizing 
each other's trunks, striking with their trunks and feet, and beating with 
their heads and tusks. They are sometimes parted by their keepers, and 
the combat is renewed on one or more successive days, till one of them 
being fairly beaten and overpowered, runs away, and being pursued by the 
other along the streets, returns to his native forests. The conqueror is re- 
called by the voice of the female elephants, and his keepers receive their 

The village Kalugula, in the Beligal Korle, is the Ninde village of the 
Kurwwe Lelcam. 

It contains two Hewanam, who carry his talapdts in the desavony, and 
coolies, of whom one or two constantly serve in his kitchen. 

It contains also a Mullettu field of five pelah. There is another Mullettu 
of two pelah in the village Alaxvela, and another of two pelah in Biharcala ; 
all which are sown for ande on his account. 

Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom. 215 

He is entitled to an annual contribution of a few ridi, called pandura 
mila, from the Kuruwe people. He receives twenty ridi annually for the 
appointment of Fidan, but not for the offices which are considered as 

When he proceeds upon service into the country, he is entitled to receive 
provisions once round from all Kuruwe people, except the inhabitants of 
the three Pannagam. 

The Madige, or Carriage Buttock Department. 

This department is sometimes placed under the Desave of the four Korles, 
but frequently assigned to a separate chief, nominated by the King, who 
in that case is styled by inferiors Madige Desave. A Vidan, appointed by 
the chief, performs the duties under him. 

Their villages, their head men, and the bullocks which they are liable to 
furnish, are as follow : — 

Tuldomawe 1 Mohandiram 1 Lekam, furnishes 12 bullocks. 

Walagama 1 Kankan ditto 12 ditto. 

Weyloyagoda \ 

Ragala, and V 1 Moliandiram ditto 12 ditto. 

Talawella ) 

Undanwita 1 ditto ditto 4 ditto. 

In Gondolohe there is also land subject to Madige service, which was aban- 
doned some years ago, and has been since cultivated on account of the chief. 

The Madige people of the above villages are of the fisherman's caste. 

Each person possessing one ammonam of land is bound to furnish one 
bullock ; those of the headmen being exempted, and the Gammarahes 
performing other services. 

Each bullock furnishes annually to the royal store, called Maha Gaba- 
daxve, one goni, or bag, containing forty store measures of salt, and one 
karawala, or salt fish ; and besides, to the chief, two karawala. 

They render also to the King the profits upon the sale of areha nuts, 
realized in the following manner : — 

The sum of 300 ridi is issued from the Treasury to the chief for the 
purchase of fifty ammonams of areha ; i. e., at the rate of six ridi per ammonam 
of 30,000. 

Vol. III. 2 F 

216 Sir Josx D'Orzr's Sketch of the 

The chief divides it amongst his people, nearly in the proportion of six 
ridi to each proprietor, one ammonam of land, and the value of a few ammo- 
nams to the Walanbadde Madige people mentioned below. 

They purchase the arelca in small quantities from the inhabitants at 
such prices as they are able, which are necessarily low, because the sale 
of this article to other traders, and the exportation, are strictly pro- 

They convey it by bullocks to Ruanxcelle, and selling it at the best 
prices for the Columbo market, account for the whole profits to the Royal 

They also receive money from their chief, and deliver to him the profit 
upon an uncertain quantity of areka, varying from twenty to fifty ammo- 
nams per annum. 

It is said that in two former years with the assistance of many other villages, 
1,000 and 500 ammonams respectively were collected, and the profits paid 
into the Treasury, but with much opposition and difficulty, which, with 
the intervention of other services, occasioned a reduction to the usual 

These Madige people are also obliged to perform other carriage service 
when required, as the conveyance of grain from the royal villages, receiving, 
however, one laha for each bullock-load ; and they occasionally do the same 
for their chief. 

The following people are Moor-men, and are called Walanbadde Madige, 
because they possess no service lands, but fields of small extent, which they 
have brought into cultivation from the estates of others : Dumbulawawe, 
containing one Mohandiram and six or eight people ; Hingula, containing 
one Mohandiram and six or eight people. 

Hence they are called upon to perform very little service, but, having 
bullocks, are not entirely exempt. 

They receive money, as above stated, for a small quantity of areka, and 
account for the profits to the Treasury and to their chief. 

They are also employed in the conveyance of grain, &c, if required, 
two or three times in the year : the people of Dumbulawawe usually for 
the King, and those of Hingula for the chief; but they are not liable to 
perform any of the duties above specified. 

The chief of the Madige receives also the following emoluments, 
and Ande mullettu fields of three ammonams, at Walagama, are cultivated 

Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom. 217 

on his account. There were formerly five ammonams, of which two 
ammonams have been assigned at different times to temples by the 

There was also a Ninde mullettu field of one ammonam at Falgomuice, 
delivered some years ago by Leake Desave to another person, who has since 
paid an annual fee to the chief; and the three Nilakaraya who before culti- 
vated it have since served him as coolies. 

The J\lohandiram and Lelcams pay annually for their appointment five 
ridi each to the chief, and one or two ridi to the Vidan. 

Besides the forty bullocks above mentioned, there are twelve bullocks 
appropriated to the chief from the same Madigc villages, which supply him 
each with one goni of salt and three karazzala per annum. 

There are fourteen Gammahes in the above villages, who, with the other 
regular Mddige people, contributed annually a sum of near fifty ridi to the 
chief, which is called pandura mila, and principally supplies the funds to 
pay to the Treasury his fixed annual delcam. 

The three Gammahes of Talgoma-xe, having a larger extent of lands, give 
in rotation to the chief one pingo of fifteen cocoa-nuts per month. 

The Gammahes furnish provisions gratuitously to the chief, or to his 
messengers when they come on duty to their respective villages. They 
attend him in travelling, and are sometimes employed to convey his mes- 
sages, but perform no Madige service with bullocks. 


The several classes of desavony people, and duties to which they are 
liable, having been described, it remains to notice several villages, which 
are the property of the crown, or of temples, or otherwise circumstanced, 
which render dues and services distinct from the foregoing. Those which 
are properly exempt from the Desave's authority, were, on occasions of 
urgent public service, sometimes placed under his orders. 

The following villages belonged to the public Wahala, or establishment 
of the queens, but were occasionally granted to the others of the royal 

They contain mullettu lands of the extent hereafter specified, which are 
cultivated on account of the royal family, or other grantee j and the inha- 
bitants, amongst whom are many low-caste people, of all except the three 
last,, are bound to perform appropriate personal services for them. 

a p a 

218 Sir John D'Orz r's Sketch of the 

A. P. 

Habalakkaive contains... Mullet tu 4 

Pattegammana ditto 2 2 

Galigomawe ditto 1 2 

Hakahinne ditto 2 

Korawelle Ande 4 

Ninde 2 

Hapicwelle Gampa Mullet tu 3 3 and three royal gardens. 

Uiiduwazcela 3 3 and two ditto unproductive. 

Dewele 3 and one ditto. 

Araneuke ( N ° Mulkttu and no r0 . val g ar dens. The inhabitants furnish 
Panaromutoe ) twdve (ney ® measures of c ocoa-nut oil, monthly, to the 
° ( Palle Wahale store, as the duty for their lands. 

Allapittiya ( The inbabitants furnish annually to the same store 4,400 

Panagomuwe ) pieC6S ° f white >*° er ^ and five F«gos of jaggery 
a {. syrups. 

The following two villages are also royal, under the orders of Uda Gabada 
Nilame. They contain mulkttu lands of the extent stated below, which 
the inhabitants cultivate entirely on account of the crown. They beat the 
paddy into rice, and carry it to Kandy, and deliver a certain quantity into 
the royal store, called Uda Gabadaxce, once in fifteen days. They are 
under the orders of a Mohattale and inferior head men, and pay pin^o 
duties to the Malta Gabadaxce, and contributions called pandura mila to 
their own chief. 

A. p. 

Dedigama contain Mullettu 9 q 

Menikkadawere ditto 5 o 

The following villages are called Desave Gabada Gan, or royal villages, 
under the orders of the Desave. They contain mulkttu fields of the extent 
specified beneath, which are subject to the payment of paddy allowances 
to the servants of the royal store, Uda Gabadave, and the remainder of 
their produce, if any, is the perquisite of the Desaves. 

A. P. Ammonams. 

Pamururxe contains Mulkttu 2 2 gives 11 "» 

Padidore Mawana ditto 6 27 I annually 

Ka-xudaulk ditto 2 1 9 V to servants of 

Dorarcaka ditto 4 2 40| the store. 

Ballapana ditto G 2 45 J 

Constitution qftlie Kandyan Kingdom. 21<) 

The inhabitants perform the services above described under the head of* 

Lands at Baliorcalle of seven ammonams in extent ; at Walayama, of 
three and a half ammonams ; and at Hingule, of eight ammonams, were 
partially brought into cultivation in the last year of the King's govern- 
ment, but for want of cultivation the two former have been abandoned, 
and the latter only partially sown. 

Anderamade, having no mullettu, or royal gardens, furnished five mea- 
sures of cocoa-nut oil, monthly, to the Maha Gabadawe. 

Baliala and Waragoda are attached to the royal kitchen in Kandy. The 
inhabitants are obliged to bring timbers, build and keep it in repair, and 
perform ordinary services for their chief. 

Talgama and Badawala contain each one Ande mullettu of about la. \p., 
from which four and a half ammonams of paddy are annually given to a 
servant of the royal store. Two of their inhabitants are constantly on 
duty at the Desave's house, and furnish charcoal to the blacksmiths. 

Mahena contains an Ande mullettu of two ammonams, of which one am- 
monam is seldom cultivated, and gives an allowance of four and a half 
ammonams per annum. 

Ambepusse, a Ninde mullettu, of one ammonam and one pelah, which 
gives seven and a halfammonams. 

The inhabitants of these two villages furnish monthly from ten to twelve 
lumps of rough iron from each, for the Desave's use, and perform other oc- 
casional services required of them. 

Gangoda, Mallegadde, Jallwwela, Dimbulgomuwe, Meleyagave, Guvele- 
pitiye, Ballewale, WeUangammalle, Endurapota, are caHed Saramaru villages, 
being sometimes granted by the King, otherwise, temporarily disposed of by 
the Desave as Ninde villages. 

They contain each small mullettu fields, which are cultivated on account 
of the grantee, and he is entitled to the benefit of the personal services of 
the inhabitants, according to custom. 

The following villages are more especially appropriated to the personal 
services and accommodation of the Desave ; but the four first yield also 
some revenue to the crown : — 

Debatgome contains a mullettu of 5 a. 1 p., from which twenty-seven 
ammonams of paddy are annually paid to the servants of the royal store. 
Two men are constantly on duty in rotation at the Desave's house. They 

220 Sir Joex D'Ovly's Sketch of the 

furnish water and firewood for his kitchen and bathing house, and carry his 
kitchen furniture on journeys. 

Gabbala and Parrapi have no mullettu. They furnish monthly 500 lumps 
of white jaggery to the Uda Gabadarcs, and the like to the Desave, and 
sometimes extra supplies, if he requires it, on other occasions. Two inha- 
bitants, one from each village, are on constant duty at the Desave's house, 
and serve in his kitchen. 

Gantune has no mullettu. It furnishes annually to the Malta Gabadawe 
S90 lumps of jaggery ; to the Desave, such occasional quantities as he 
requires, and its inhabitants carry the Desave's baggage on journeys. 

Etnawala contains no mullettu. It is the peculiar employment of its in- 
habitants to carry the Desave's palanquin. Two or three are constantly on 
duty at his house, and carry his talapdt and torches, &c, when he goes 
abroad; when the Desave travels a greater number are summoned from the 
village to carry his palanquin. 

Dunugama and Godigonuxce formerly furnished an indefinite quantity of 
saltpetre to the Desave, to make gunpowder for firing salutes and for war, 
and the inhabitants carry the Desave's baggage on journeys. The former 
duty has been abandoned duriug the last few years, and they have performed 
in lieu of it any ordinary work required of them. 

Aramyke contains a mullettu of three pelah, which is cultivated by the 
inhabitants on account of the Desave. Some of them furnish white jaggery 
and syrup for his use ; others carry his box of dressed provisions on a 

Ampe contains an ande mullettu of two pelahs, cultivated on account of 
the Desave; its inhabitants erect a kitchen near the Desave's rest house in 
the -desavony, and perform other occasional services. 

The Desave can in general command the occasional labour of the inha- 
bitants of these villages for garden, field, or common domestic work. 

The villages specified beneath are temple villages, not including, of 
course, many temple lands of inconsiderable extent which are situated in 
different villages throughout the desavony. Many of them contain mullettu 
fields, of which the produce is applied to offerings, .and to the maintenance 
of the priest and officiating servants. The service of the inhabitants for 
the lands which they possess consist in the cultivation of the mullettu 
field, the performance of fixed duties at the temples, or keeping them in 

Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom. 221 

The following belong to different Wihara, and are called the Wiliara 
Gan : — 

Dewanagala Ruwandemya, Hengule Allutunwere, Kapagoda, Silawa 
Mediliya, Deppit-ye, Deyagama, Ambulugata, 'Vakerigala, Wattarama. 

The following belong to the temple : — Daladu Maligaway in Kandy, 
Kempitikande, Holombawa Nelundeniya. 

The following belong to the Maha Dewale, in Kandy : — Aluiunwere, 
Jhalakotte, Arandere, Tambugala, Algama Andaolu&e, Kande. 

To Hangurankete, Malta Dewale Nikapitiye, Udamagama Naranbadde. 

To Alutnuwere, Maha Dewale, Udawidiya, Pallewediye Ayagama, Gallelle, 
Alapitiya, Karahanpitigoda, JVelewalare Rukulagama, Medagoda, Rikerugoda, 
Dewanagela Batawala* 

To Kalarawawe Dewale, in Kandy, Galalam Mottappuliya. 

To Pattini Dewale, in Kandy, Warakapola. 

The Administration of Justice. 

The supreme judicial power resides in the King, and is exercised either 
in original jurisdiction or on appeal. 

Cases originally entertained and decided by the King are, first, those 
which arise between any principal chiefs, or principal officers or servants of 
his court or household, or cases in which a principal person belonging to 
any of those classes is defendant, especially those regarding dukegenawele 
lands (domestic services) : but suits concerning lands held by any such 
person for other than dukgenawele sendee, may be heard and decided by 
the chief within whose jurisdiction they are situated j and disputes arising 
amongst inferior persons belonging to the King's court or household, as the 
Ulpenge, Mvltenge, and Kundn Maduwe people, are decided by their 
respective chiefs, or by the Adikar, without reference to the King ; se- 
condly, suits arising amongst priests for principal temples or benefices; 
and, thirdly, high crimes, of which no inferior authority can take cogni- 
zance, viz. 

Treason, rebellion, conspiracy, and other crimes affecting the King's 
person or family. 

Every species of homicide, maiming, or depriving of any organ or 

Robbery of the royal treasury or property, 

Important forgeries and false coining, or uttering false coin. 

22"2 Sir Jobn D'Oylt's Sketch of the 

Sacrilege, as destroying a sacred image, cutting down a sacred tree, 
or striking a priest. 

Elephant slaughter, in the upper districts, or in the provinces contiguous 
to Kandy. 

Other offences of an aggravated nature, which, though competent to the 
authority of the chiefs, may be considered of sufficient importance to report 
to the King. 

Appeal to the King lies open to every individual from the decision of 
any chief in civil cases, without limitation of lapse of time or value. 

The appeal is introduced to the Kings notice, either by the representa- 
tion of a chief or courtier, or by the individual who thinks himself aggrieved 
prostrating in the road when the King is abroad, or prostrating at any 
other time towards the palace : an occurrence which any person who 
observed it is obliged to communicate immediately to the King through 
some officers of the palace ; ascending a tree near the palace and pro- 
claiming aloud his grievance, or taking refuge, as was sometimes done in any 
instance of supposed injustice, in the Malta Gabada-we, or the temple Dalada 
Maligaiva, or other royal or religious sanctuary. 

When a case is thus brought under his cognizance, it is either heard 
in the King's presence or referred for hearing and report to the Great 
Court of Kandy, called Malta Naduroe, composed of the principal Kandyan 

If the former, the King is seated at the window of an apartment in the 
palace. The Kandyan chiefs, kneeling in the hall or varanda below, question, 
according to the King's directions, the parties and witnesses ; and the King, 
after taking their opinion, passes his decision. 

If the latter, the case is heard in the Great Court of the chiefs, who report 
the circumstances with their opinion to the King ; are sometimes referred 
for further inquiry and report till he is satisfied, and then receive his decision ; 
or sometimes are ordered to decide by oath. 

The Great Court, or Malta Nadinve. 

The Great Court, called Malta Nadwxe, properly consists of the Adilcars, 
Desaves, Lelcams, and Mohandirams ; but of late years all the chiefs have 
been called to assist at it, and especially any that are distinguished for their 
ability and judgment. 

The court was held at different periods,' as occasion suited ; sometimes in 

Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom. <2i>tS 

different buildings without the palace, or sometimes in the varanda of the 
hall of audience. 

There was formerly, it is said, a court-house near Paltene Dewale, which 
was partly rebuilt in the time of the last deceased King, but never com- 

The chiefs take their seats according to rank, from right to left ; and the 
Adikars,* or any other chiefs of ability and experience, principally conduct 
the enquiry. 

The proceedings take place in the natural or most obvious course. First 
hearing the statement of the plaintiff or prosecutor, next the answer of the 
defendant or prisoner, next the evidences of the plaintiff or prosecutor, and 
lastly those of the defendant or prisoner. • 

A 11 the witnesses on both sides, as far as practicable, are collected and 
examined on the same day. If a witness be disabled by sickness, with- 
out a prospect of early recovery, messengers are sent, and bring his 
evidence in writing, confirmed, if possible, by oath at a neighbouring 

The witnesses are never sworn in court, and on clear trifling cases no 
oath is administered. In others they are sent to the neighbouring dewale, 
and sworn to the truth of their deposition in the presence of two or three 
head men as commissioners, who return and report to the Court. 

The examination is entirely viva voce, and no part of the proceedings are 
taken in writing, except a list of moveable property, which may be claimed 
as due or stolen, and excepting that either party sometimes presents a state- 
ment of his case, written on an ola, called witti waflenace. 

In land cases, which are by far the most numerous, it is the general prac- 
tice to commence with the original proprietor, three or four generations in 
ascent, and thence to trace downwards, by inheritance or transfer, the title 
of the suitors. 

The cases which come under the cognizance of the Great Court are either 
civil or criminal, and of two kinds : — 

First, Those which are referred for hearing by the King, and are inva- 
riably reported and decided by this authority, in the manner above-men- 

Secondly, Those which are originally instituted before it, or, as is usual, 
introduced by the chief under whose jurisdiction the complaining party is. 
* Sans. Ad'hikara, the bearing of royal insignia. 

Vol. III. 2G 

224 Sir John D'Oyly's Sketch of the 

These, after regular investigation in the manner above stated, are decided 
by the majority of the witnesses ; or, if doubtful, are ordered to be decided 
by oath- 
Differences of opinion amongst the chiefs were seldom persisted in after 
full discussion. But if either party be obstinate against the determination of 
the Court, the case is sometimes submitted to the King, especially if it con- 
cerns property of value, or persons of consequence. 

In all suits for land decided by the King, after reference to the Great 
Court itself, or without such reference, decrees written on ola, called sitta, 
are signed and given by the senior Adikar present, or sometimes by the 
second Adikar for lands situated within his general local jurisdiction. The 
sitta contains the names of the parties, the land in dispute, the decision, and 
the date. If the decision be passed by the King, it records his authority ; if 
not, the authority of the Court. 

The sitta is gi ven only to the gaining party, and no copy or record of the 
decision is preserved by the Court. 

The Great Court, in taking cognizance of civil and criminal cases, except 
those referred by the King, as well as in the infliction of punishment, cannot 
exceed the powers which are individually vested in the Adikars, and which 
are mentioned below. 

Jurisdiction of the Adikars. 

The Adikars are severally invested with the following judicial powers : — 

They have exclusive jurisdiction, subject only to the King, in civil and 
criminal cases, over all persons subject to their peculiar authority as above 

They have a concurrent jurisdiction with the proper chiefs, over all 
persons in the provinces above described as subject respectively to their 
general authority : provided that they entertain no such cases except in 
communication with the proper chief, and that they cannot decide without 
his concurrence. _ - 

If either party protests against the decision, the Adikars submit the case 
to the Great Court, or to the King, and are especially obliged to do so if 
he be of considerable rank, or attached to the King's Court or to his imme- 
diate household. 

They can hear and decide criminal cases between individuals without 
limitation of value ; but cannot take cognizance of those which affect the 

Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom. 223 

royal lands, or Duhgenatvele lands, unless on the complaint of a common 
person the Dukgenawele be satisfied, and the decision be in his favour. 

Nor can they take cognizance (unless both parties voluntarily come to 
them as arbitrators) of cases -which arise between principal chiefs, or prin- 
cipal officers of the King's household, or in which any such person is de- 
fendant, but only in concurrence with the proper chief of those which con- 
cern inferior people belonging to the same. 

In all cases arising in the Upper Districts, the Adikars alone can give silta, 
or written decrees for land, and dense sitta, or written oaths for swearing by oil. 

With the same limitation in respect of persons, and in concurrence with 
the proper chiefs, they can hear and decide all criminal cases, &c. 

They can hear and decide all criminal cases of burglary, robbery, theft, 
assault, and other minor offences, but usually report to the King any 
remarkably atrocious cases which occur. 

They cannot take cognizance of the high crimes above enumerated as 
belonging only to the King's jurisdiction, but submit all such cases to the 

They have the exclusive privilege of awarding punishment with the cane 
which is borne by their officers, the Katubulle people. 

They have power to inflict corporal punishment, imprisonment, and fine, 
and without fixed limit in degree ; but the mode of punishment will vary 
according to the rank of the offender, and their power must be exercised 
subject to the following restrictions : — 
• They cannot inflict corporal punishment on the following persons, viz. 

Principal chiefs, DuJcgenaweles, or persons belonging to noble families. 

The Sutambies "of the Ulpenge or Kunam Maduxce, the Kunam Maduict 
people, Talapatrvadonne, Pandahkarego, the royal washerman, the Lekams, 
Kankaris, and Gebanerals of the Gabada, Aramudala, and Avmdage. 

The Mulachariya, and head men of the Pattala, or artificers' department, 
attached to the King ; the Madwwe Mohandirams. 

The Betge Wedralex, the Maha Lekam people. 

The Kariyalcarana Rales, and Wattern Rales of the Maligrca, and the 
Kapaurales of the Dewale. 

Of the foregoing they can imprison and fine the Kunam Maduwe people, 
the royal washerman, the Maha Lekam people, and the officers of the 
temples, but no others without the King's authority. 

They exercise these powers (except over persons under their peculiar 

2 G 2 

226 Sir John D'Otlt's Sketch of the 

jurisdiction) in communication with the proper chiefs, and never without 
their concurrence. 

Prisoners confined by the Adikar's orders cannot be released by their 
proper chief without leave of the Adikar ; but fines which may be levied 
are the perquisite of the proper chief, and not of the Adikar. 

The proper chiefs, with regard to the infliction of punishments, are sub- 
ject to the same restrictions as the Adikars. 

In every case appeal lies to the King from the decision of the Adikars. 

Jurisdiction of the Desaves. 

The Desaves have jurisdiction over all persons and lands within their 
respective desavonies, except those attached to the King's court or house- 
hold, or to the department of another chief appointed by the King ; and 
they rarely exercise it over these unless upon the application of the 
proper chief, and sometimes by their own right, when upon extraordinary 
emergencies any such villages or departments are especially placed under 
their authority. Subject to these exceptions, they can hear and decide all 
civil cases without limitation of value. 

On the complaint of a desavony person, they can entertain his claim for 
Dukgenawele land, if the possessor be satisfied, and they can grant a decree 
in his favour ; but if the Desave's opinion be against the defendant the 
matter must be referred to the King. 

They can also hear and decide cases regarding lands subject to desavony 
service, between any persons whatsoever. 

They have power to grant sitta or written decrees for land, with their 
signature and dewe sitta, or written oaths by oil, within their respective 
desavonies only. Subject to the same limitations, they can hear and decide 
all criminal cases, except the high crimes before stated to belong exclu- 
sively to the King's jurisdiction ; but they usually report to the King other 
remarkably atrocious offences, though subject to their own decision. 

They can award corporal punishment (except with the cane), imprison- 
ment, and fine, without any fixed limit in degree, upon persons subject to 
their jurisdiction ; but are bound to pay regard to the rank and condition 
of the parties, according to the following rules established by usage : — 

Corporal punishment is not inflicted on persons of noble families, nor 
on the Ataputtu, Desavony, or Kodittcwakku Lekam, Korales of high 
family, the Wanniyar, the Waluxcuzce, Mohottales, and Atapattu Aratchies 

Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom. 2'2~ 

of the four Korles, nor in general upon persons who have held those 

Korales of low family, Aratchies, Vidams, and Vellales, may be punished 
with the open hand. 

Vellales of low condition, for flagrant offences, and persons of low caste, 
are punished with rods called ipal. The persons above-mentioned as exempted 
from corporal punishment are not imprisoned in the Maha Hirage (common 
gaol) ; the Desave usually fixes a fine for offences, and detains them in the 
Atapattu Maduwe till it is paid. 

If the offences be considered to merit greater punishment, by representa- 
tion to the King they are imprisoned in the Katabulle village, or in the 

Other persons are imprisoned, according to the Desave's pleasure, in the 
Atapattu, or Kodituwaka Maduwe; the more atrocious offenders in the 
latter, and sometimes in the Maha Hirage in Kandy, or in a Kadawata of 
his desavony, for such term as he deems adequate to the offence, or till the 
payment of such fine as may be demanded. 

The Desave most frequently and properly hears the cases himself, seated 
in the court of his house, and surrounded by the head men of his desavony 
standing in his presence. 

He sometimes commitsthe enquiry to two or three principal Mohottales or 
Korales, who conduct it in public outside the Desave's dwelling, sitting 
in the Atapattu Maduwe, and make report to him, as the Court of Kandyan 
Chiefs to the King ; but this delegation is stated to be an impropriety in- 
troduced of late years. 

In doubtful cases, he frequently takes the opinion of the principal head 
men of his desavony. 

The decision is communicated to the parties, sometimes by the head men, 
and sometimes by the Desave; and finally the sitta, or decree for lands, is 
granted to the successful party on payment of the fee demanded, which, 
according to its value, usually varies between five and fifty ridi. 

The proceedings are conducted in the manner already described to take 
place before the great court of Kandy. 

Jurisdiction of Lekams Rate Mahatmeya and other Chiefs. 
The Lekams Rale Mehatmeya, the principals of temples, and the chiefs of 
departments attached to the King's court and household, have a civil and 

22S Sir Jokx D'O vtr's Sketch of the 

criminal jurisdiction over all persons subject to their orders, and over no 

They can hear and decide all civil cases arising amongst them, or in which 
anv such person is defendant, without limitation of value* 

They can dispossess of land, and give a written walloor addressed to the 
head men, reciting the decision, and ordering possession to be delivered to 
another, but can on no account grant sitta or watteraof decision with their 
signature, or derve sitta in the upper districts, nor administer any oath in 
Kandy; but the principals of the temples in Kandy can give sitta of decision 
and dewe sitta in cases arising in villages belonging to their respective temples 
which are situated in the desavonies. 

They can hear and decide all criminal cases, with the exception of the 
high crimes above enumerated ; but they usually represent to the Adikars 
other offences of some atrocity, and those of less importance than the 
Desaves would decide, because, occurring in the vicinity of Kandy, the trans- 
action cannot escape publicity ; and because, being of inferior rank and 
weight, and standing under the eye and control of superior authority, 
these chiefs are diffident of their ability, and fearful of incurring displeasure 
or giving offence by an erroneous judgment. 

They can award corporal punishment (except with the cane), imprison- 
ment, and fine, without fixed limit, against persons subject to their juris- 
diction, - paying regard to their respective rank and conditions. 

Corporal punishment is not inflicted by them on the principal head men, 
Korales, and Aratchies, except on occasions of urgent public service, or for 
ireat offences, with open hand, nor on the principal officers of the temples. 

Ordinary Vellales are punished by them with the open hand, and persons 
jf low caste with rods, excepting properly the Maha Lekam's people. 

But when the Lekam people, and all other inhabitants of a district, are 
temporarily placed under the Rate Mahatmeya, for the performance of some 
urgent public service within it, they have of late years punished Maha 
Lekam people with the open hand, and the other common Vellales with rods. 

They can imprison any of. the headmen abovementioned, or any other 
persons, in the Maha Hirage, or in their own houses, and impose any mode- 
rate fine, upon payment of which they are usually released. 

It is said that former kings prohibited any fine exceeding seven ridi and 
a half to be levied in the upper districts. This order has long since fallen 
into disuse. 

Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom. 229 

The fine imposed by any of these chiefs usually does not exceed ten or 
twenty ridi ; and they are cautious of awarding excessive punishments of 
any kind for the reason above stated. 

In any case of doubt and difficulty, or when either party dissatisfied 
threatens to appeal, the chief usually brings it under the cognizance of the 
Adikar or the great court. 

Jurisdiction of the Mohottales, Korales, Wannyar, and oilier head men of the 


■ The Atapattu Desavony, and Kodituwakka, ■. Mohottales, or Lekams, 
the Korales a.nd\ Aratchies of the Desavonies have a limited jurisdiction in 
civil and criminal matters over all persons subject to their authority re- 
spectively, but they exercise it chiefly when the Desave is absent in Kandy. 

Their power extends in civil matters to disputes regarding the limits of 
gardens or fields a few korales. extent,, of. chena ground, the. possession, of 
a few fruit trees, debts of a few ridi, or a small quantity of grain, &c 

They can give written wattera of decision without signature, and deliver 
possession of lands, and sequester lands and crops. . 

In criminal cases their power, extends • to robberies of cattle, paddy, 
fruits, betel, &c. Assaults and quarrels, toddy and arrack, drinking, 
neglect of duty, and failure in paying revenue. 

All offences of greater moment they ought properly to refer to the Desave, 
but they sometimes settle cases of housebreaking or other serious robberies, 
if the prosecutor complain to them, and be satisfied, with recovering his lost 
property and the usual damages. . . 

They can cause slight corporal punishment to be inflicted on common 
persons subject to their orders standing with the open hand ; on persons of 
low caste with rods. 

Robbers of every description, whose guilt is undoubted, they can imprison 
in their houses, or in a kadawata, in the stocks, or otherwise, till they restore 
the stolen property "with damages. ....-..■'• 

Other offenders they.confine for a few days, or make them prisoners at 
large by taking the handkerchief from their heads. 

It is held that the three principal Mohottales cannot properly impose a fine 
exceeding ten ridi, the Korales and Aratchies not exceeding five ridi. 

They are accustomed to recover fines by placing the culprit in Welakme, 
that is, a prisoner under inhibition to move from the spot till he has 

230 Sir Johk D'Orzr's Sketch of the 

satisfied the demand ; upon this his relation or friend undertakes for him to 
discharge it, or a pledge is delivered. 

But the Mohottales of the Seven Korles, Woa, and Saffregam, by reason 
of the distance of many parts from the capital and consequent difficulty of 
control, have assumed far greater power, which, though exercised without 
disguise, must be considered as illegal. 

They have been in the habit of deciding land cases of greater value, grant- 
ing sitla of decision. The Atapattu and Desavony Mohottales of the Seven 
Korles have even granted sitta with their signature, and the Atapattu and 
Kodetavakka Mohottales of Saffregam without signature ; and in both pro- 
vinces they have issued dewe sitta, or written oaths for swearing by oiL 

When sent on service into the country by the Desave to collect people or 
revenues, they have taken the opportunity of exercising almost arbitrary 
powers — those of the Seven Korles in particular, levying fines to the amount 
of fifty or a hundred ridi ; but on their return, partly as a due, because they 
pretend to act in his name, and partly in order to cover their rapacious acts, 
they deliver a portion of their fines to the Desave. 

The Wannyar of Nuwere/calawiya from ancient times are considered to have 
had the power of granting sitta of decision, and dewe sitta, and of awarding 
penalties not inferior to those inflicted by the principal Mohottales of the 
Seven Korles. In short, they are held to possess within their respective 
Pattus, power nearly equal to that of a Desave, but are restrained in the exer- 
cise of it when the Desave is in their province. 

These head men act universally as police officers throughout the country, 
and it is their duty to arrest and send before the proper authority offenders 
of* every description . 

Jurisdiction of Liyenerales, Undiyerales, Korales, and Aratchies of the Upper 


The headmen of these districts, which are adjacent to Kandy, and admit 
of easy reference to superior chiefs, have very limited powers. 

They settle trifling civil cases rather as arbitrators than judges, when the 
parties submit to their cognizance. 

They cannot dispossess of land, but on complaint can sequester lands and 
crops; and for default of revenues, or failure of attendance when summoned, 
they can sequester lands, crops, or dwellings. 

Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom. 231 

In like manner, when submitted to them, they can hear complaints ot 
petty robberies and quarrels, toddy and arrack drinking, &c. 

They can punish persons of low degree by ten or fifteen blows with the 
open hand, inflicted standing. 

Robbers whose guilt is clear and confessed, they imprison till satisfaction 
is made ; but if the accused deny or protest, they are bound to send both 
parties before the superior chief. 

It is held that in other cases they cannot imprison above one or two days, 
either by taking off the handkerchief or by close confinement, without send- 
ing the party, or at least reporting him to their chief. 

And that they cannot legally, by their own authority, ' levy a fine exceed- 
ing three ridi. But in a case which clearly merits it, they can levy a fine of 
five, or seven ridi and a half, in the name of their chief, reporting the case 
and delivering the fine to him, and one ridi more for their own perquisite. 

They recover fines by placing in Welahna, in the manner before des- 
cribed, and act as police officers in their respective districts and depart- 

Jurisdiction of Vidans. 

The Vidans who are appointed over particular villages have limited powers, 
of the same nature, in civil and criminal matters of trifling importance. 

They occasionally punish people of low castes by a few blows with the open 
hand, inflicted standing. 

In general they cannot properly imprison without reporting to their chief, 
nor levy a fine exceeding two ridi and a half, of which the half ridi belongs 
to the Duraya. 

If they levy a larger sum, they must report and account for it to their chief. 

But the Vidans of the royal villages, especially of those situated in the 
desavonies, imprison four or five days at the royal granary, and levy many 
fines of small amount, especially for neglect in the cultivation of royal land, 
and trespasses of cattle, &c. 

They recover fines by placing in Welahna, and act as police officers within 
their local jurisdiction. 

Gansabe* or Village Court. 

This court is frequently held both in the desavonies and the upper districts, 
and consists of an assembly of the principal and experienced men of a 

* Sans. Grama a village and sabha an assembly. 

Vol. III. 2~H 

2S2 Sir Jomx D'Orzr's Sketch of the 

village, who meet at an Jmbalam, or a shady tree, or other central place, 
upon the occurrence of any civil or criminal matter, as disputes regarding 
limits, debts, thefts, quarrels, &c. ; and after enquiring into the case, if pos- 
sible settle it amicably, declaring the party which is iri" default, adjudge 
restitution or compensation, and dismissing with reproof and admonition, 
their endeavours being directed to compromise and not to punishment; 

It frequently happens that a head man in office is one of the assembly,' in 
which case a line is sometimes levied for offences, and in some desavonies is 
shared with the other assessors. 

Tlie following General Rules and Customs observed in Judicial Matters may be 

here mentioned : 

No chief can interfere with decrees passed or grants made by the King's 
authority, or with decrees passed by the Great Court, except for the purpose 
of confirming them. 

If the defendant in a suit repeatedly fail to appear, and evade a hearing, 
provisional decrees are sometimes granted in favour of the plaintiff; this pro- 
cess usually compels appearance, and the suit is thereupon duly investigated. 

Any chief in office can rehear cases decided by his predecessors, and 
reverse their written decision. 

In the Seven Korles two or three adverse decrees will sometimes be found 
in the possession of both litigant parties for the same land, but such abuses 
are not frequent in other provinces. 

In criminal as well as civil cases, it is customary to admit the evidence of 
the complainant, his near relations, his slaves, or servants. 

It is a general rule that fees or presents given to a chief for the purpose of 
gaining a suit, or promoting any other object, must be returned on demand if 
the suit be lost, or if the object be not accomplished. 

If, after full enquiry and examination of all the evidence on both sides, a 
case should still be doubtful, it is customary to decide it by oath, of which 
the several species will be shortly explained. 

General Observations. 

This system of judicial administration evidently marks a barbarous state 
of society ; but if it were purely administered, is apparently as well calcu- 
lated to afford the means of justice as any which could exist under a 
despotic government, in which the executive and judicial powers are united ; 
every individual having the liberty of seeking redress, first by application to 

Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom. 233 

the principal of the village, next to the head men or chiefs of the province, 
next to his superior chief, to the Adikar, to the Great Court, and lastly to 
the Using. Appeal lying from all the subordinate to any of the inter- 
mediate, or to the supreme authority, in case either party he dissatisfied with 
their decision. 

But several circumstances remain to be mentioned which tended to prevent 
the impartial administration of justice, and corruption has unfortunately 
pervaded almost all its branches. 

1st. Justice in very few cases is administered gratuitously. 

It is said that in .former times, and according to the lawful custom of the 
kingdom, no other fee was payable than a sum of five or ten ridi by the 
gainer of the suit, upon receiving the sitta or written decree in his favour, 
and that verbal orders have -on different occasions been given by the Kings 
forbidding the chiefs to receive bribes (though it is denied by some to the 
extent stated) and do injustice. 

But as the presents are conveyed in private, such occasional orders were 
unavailing to prevent it, and it is certain that the practice prevailed to such 
an extent as to corrupt the system. 

Every person appearing before his chief, whether on account of a com- 
plaint or for any other cause, is expected to bring with him forty betel 
leaves, and, unless he be exceedingly poor, a pingo of dressed rice or cakes, 
jaggery, fruits or vegetables, the value of which is trifling, and being 
established universally by custom, it is a token of respect and not a bribe. 

But in order that the case may be brought to a speedy hearing, the com- 
plainant is frequently under the necessity of presenting (or at least finds his 
advantage in doing so) a fee called bulatsuralla, of a few ridi value* to his 
head man, to the Walawwa Moholla or Vidan ; and in the course of the suit 
frequently conveys to the Chief, who is his judge, other presents, according 
to his ability or to the value of his claim, and his adversary often adopts the 
same course to secure his interest. 

The advantage of the rich over the poor suitor and other consequences 
of this practice, are too obvious to pursue farther. 

2d. All fines levied by the chiefs belong, not to the crown, but are the 
entire perquisite of him who levies them. 

3d. The Kandyan chiefs had no stipends, and the short period for which 
all, except the Adikars, are usually allowed to remain in the same office, 
though guilty of no offence, was a strong additional inducement to take 

2 H 2 

2S4 Sir Josx D'Otlt's Sketch of the 

advantage of the moment, and enrich themselves by every means which 
lav within their reach. 

4th. The chiefs being sometimes required by the King to make extra- 
ordinary contributions, and to pay fines, necessarily exacted the means of 
satisfying them from the people. 

5th. The chief officers being principally chosen from the noble families, 
it frequently happened that they were persons of inactivity ; and being 
inexperienced in the affairs of the province or department committed to 
their charge, were frequently guided in judicial as well as other concerns 
by the provincial head men, or by those of their household, who are equally, 
if not more interested in the profits capable of being extracted from their 
temporary situations ; hence such chiefs often give their decision after an 
imperfect investigation, or upon a mercenary report of the case. 

6th. Nor did the liberty of appeal afford an effectual remedy against 

7th. Because many persons were fearful of hazarding the displeasure of a 
powerful chief, who might find many future opportunities of injuring 

8th. Because the King was not frequently in the habit of personally 
investigating suits between common individuals ; and if referred to the 
Great Court for enquiry, the influence of the chief who had passed the first 
decision, or of his relation or friend, or a new bulatsuralla might still give a 
preponderance contrary to equity. 

9th. As fees had their influence in civil matters, they were also frequently 
given in criminal. The culprit or his relations often prevailed, by means of 
presents to the chiefs, in obtaining a remission or mitigation of punishment 
for great offences, whether brought under the King's cognizance or 
otherwise ; and there are instances in which chiefs, notwithstanding the 
established order, have concealed homicides, and discharged the accused) 
after a short imprisonment, without trial. 

But although, under the system which prevailed, the way was open to the 
perversion of justice, it would be hard to deny that substantial justice was 
frequently obtained, as in the following instances : 

1st. "When cases were heard in the presence of the Kings, who, except 
in terms of minority or inexperience, when they were under the influence of 
powerful chiefs, were seldom known to judge unjustly between individuals. 

2d. "When cases were investigated in the Great Court, where the publicity 

Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom. 235 

of the enquiry and the number of the chiefs who were judges were in 
general securities against a palpable injustice, though fees were sometimes 
presented to the chiefs of principal weight in that court, and sometimes 
probably influenced its decisions, especially when its assessors were few. 

3d. When trifling cases are heard and settled by the village court, in 
which the principal inhabitants of the village in fact constituted a jury. 

4th. When litigations arose amongst the most indigent part of the com- 
munity, who having nothing to allure the avarice of their judge, will usually 
obtain justice from a single chief, though it be more difficult to obtain a 
hearing ; and there have been some few Kandyan chiefs reputed no less for 
their ability in the investigation of suits than their integrity in the decision 
of them. 

Lastly, the abuses abovementioned are much more frequent in the 
desavonies which are distant from the capital than in the districts sur- 
rounding it, because the inhabitants of the latter are more immediately 
under the royal eye and superintendence, as from being constantly called 
to Kandy, on public services, and at public festivals, they had frequent, 
communication and acquaintance with the principal chiefs and with 
each other, and hence acquired a knowledge of their established customs 
and a sense of injuries. They had more frequent and ready opportunities 
of laying their grievances before the King or the Adikars, or some other 
than their own chief; and the chiefs themselves were more fearful of 
doing injustice, either by partial judgment, or by severe punishment, or by 
exorbitant and unusual fines. 

But it will be observed, upon a review of the whole system, that there ex- 
isted under the Kandyan government scarcely any other safeguards against 
a corrupt administration of justice than were to be found in the personal 
integrity of the chiefs, who had every temptation to prevent it. 

Institutions and Customs. 

The Kandyans have no written laws, and no record whatsoever of judicial 
proceedings was preserved in civil or criminal cases. 

In cases of land only written decrees called sitta ; and if decided by oaths 
the two de-xe sittas were delivered to the party to whom the land was ad- 
judged, and continued as title deeds in his family. 

There was therefore nothing to restrain the arbitrary will of the King, 
and nothing to guide the opinions of the sovereign judge and the chiefs but 

236 Sir Johk D'Otlt's Sketch of the 

tradition and living testimonies, and for want of written authorities, the fol- 
lowing short outline of those principal institutions and customs, which seem 
to :be most generally acknowledged and sanctioned by precedents and the 
existing practice, I fear will be imperfect and liable to many errors. 

But with respect to high crimes, of which the instances within memory 
are comparatively not very numerous, as the punishments varied according 
to the temper of the reigning prince, and as it is difficult to distinguish the 
decision of law from the mitigated sentence, which both depend on the 
same supreme authority, it may almost be asserted that no fixed rule existed. 

Crimes, and Punishments. 

First — Treason, conspiracy and rebellion. 

These crimes have always been considered properly punishable with death ; 
and there are several instances, prior to the reign of the deposed King,. in 
which they have been visited with capital punishment. With respect to 
persons of inferior rank implicated in the same treasonable acts, the punish- 
ment has in many instances been neglected, or wholly remitted. 

Conviction is almost universally followed by confiscation of property, and 
sometimes involved that of the relations of the deceased. 

Of adultery with the King's wives, which is considered a species of trea- 
son, two instances only are cited, in both of which capital punishments were 
inflicted upon both the criminals. 

Of illicit intercourse with the King's concubines there are several in- 
stances, in which the delinquents have been sentenced to suffer severe 
corporal punishment, and sometimes the additional penalty of cutting off 
the hair or imprisonment, but the offence has never been punished with 


The distinctions which exist in the law of civilized nations between the 
several species of homicide of course find no place here ; but if any princi- 
ples can be said to have existed, the following seem to have been most 
generally observed : 

Wilful and deliberate homicide is punished with death, and is considered 
to be homicide committed deliberately and intentionally, without sudden 
provocation, and not in defence of self or property against a violent and un- 
lawful act. 

If two or more persons quarrel and one of them be killed in the affrav, it is 

Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom. 2S7 

held to be culpable homicide, and punished by -whipping through the street 
of Kandy, and imprisonment in a distant village. 

In such cases it does not appear that minute enquiry was made in order 
to ascertain the aggressor, or the degree of provocation given. In the 
majority of instances, which are numerous, the offender was punished in the 
manner above stated, but in no instance which I can learn with death. 

But if, after the termination of a quarrel and separation of the parties, one 
attacked and killed the other, it is considered wilful and deliberate homi- 
cide, and liable to a capital punishment. 

If two or more persons join in the commission of a robbery, and one of 
them commits homicide, the slayer is held guilty of wilful and deliberate 
homicide, the rest only guilty of the robbery. 

If a man kill another who is come to rob his house by night, the homicide 
is generally held to be not altogether free from blame, and liable to slight 

But two instances of such homicides which occurred in Kandy, and were 
brought under the King's cognizance, passed without any animadversion 

If a man kill on the spot another found in the same room with his wife, 
under such circumstances that adultery is presumable, the homicide is held 
to be justifiable, and the perpetrator entirely innocent 

If a man kill another by misadventure, the homicide is held to be in a 
slight degree culpable ; such accidents occur not unfrequently amongst the 
natives in hunting and shooting, and the offender is usually sentenced to a 
slight corporal punishment, or imprisonment and fine, as a warning to others 
against negligence. 

Maiming or depriving of an Organ or Member. 
Of this •crime committed by an individual I can learn no instance, but it 
is held to be one of such magnitude, as can be competent only to the King's 



The instances in which robberies have been punished with death are few, 
and all of which I have obtained information took place in the reign of the 
deposed King. 

In other cases they have been visited with corporal. punishment, imprison- 
ment, and fine, in severity proportioned to their supposed atrocity. The 

2SS Sir Jokx D'O tl r's Sketch of the 

most atrocious are held to be those committed upon the treasures or other 
property of the King, of temples, or of priests. 

Housebreaking, Highway Robberies, and those attended ■xith Personal Duties. 

The most atrocious robberies, and necessarily the first mentioned, being 
reported to the King, are usually punished by whipping through the roads of 
Kandy, and imprisonment in a distant village in the country. 

Other robberies, which are not deemed of sufficient importance to report 
to him, are heard, and decided by the Great Court, by the Adikars, and the 
several chiefs, and minor robberies by the provincial head men ; and the 
offenders are sentenced at their discretion, according to their respective 
powers, to corporal punishment, imprisonment, or fine, all or either. 

But they sometimes escaped with no other punishment than imprisonment 
till they make satisfaction for the stolen property, and pay the fixed damages/ 

It is an invariable rule that the robber must restore the stolen property 01 
its value to the owner, and except in petty thefts of fruits, vegetables, betel, 
&c, must pay fixed damages of thirty ridi, calledlFandiya, and ten ridi, being 
double the sum which the owner is supposed to have paid to an informer for 
discovery, and which he recovers although there was no informer. 

Sometimes the chief recovers the property for the owner by imprisoning 
the robber in the stocks. Sometimes he delivers the robber to the owner, 
especially if he be a man of some rank, who has a right to bind, confine in 
the stocks, and beat him in moderation till his property or its value have 
been restored with damages, or securitv jriven. 

A fee or present is frequently promised before hand, and given by the 
owner to the person in authority, who has been instrumental in recovering it. 

If there be evidence which leaves no doubt of a prisoner's guilt, and espe- 
cially if he be a man of bad character, the chief, and sometimes the person 
robbed, inflicts corporal punishment to extort confession of accomplices and 
discovery of property stolen, but they would be liable to severe punishment 
for ill treating a respectable and innocent person. 

If property found be disputed between the prisoner and the owner, and 
jhere is no proof, it is sometimes decided by oath at the temple. 

In cases of cattle stealing, the owner invariably recovers from the robber 
one head of cattle in addition to his own, or two for one, as well as the sup- 
posed value of the service of the stolen animal, for the period during which 
he was deprived of it, besides the damages of forty ridi above-mentioned. 

Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom. 239 

Of arson I can hear of no case which was proved, but one instance of ma- 
liciously burning sheaves of paddy ; according to the general principle, the 
criminal would be sentenced to suffer severe corporal punishment and im- 
prisonment, and to make satisfaction for the property destroyed. 


The instances of sacrilege within recollection are few, but the offences 
being reported to the King, were in general punished by whipping through 
the streets of Kandy and imprisonment 

One instance of striking a priest was punished by amputation of the 

Forgeries, false Coining, and uttering false Coin. 

There are three cases within memory of convictions for forging King's 
sannasses, and a Desave's sitta for land, and one for coining and uttering false 

The offenders suffered severe corporal punishment, with the addition of 
imprisonment in two of the cases. 

In another case of uttering false coin, the culprit was an inhabitant of 
Colombo, and was delivered to the Dutch Ambassador. 


The crime is strictly prohibited* by the precepts of their religion, but 
below royalty, rarely meets with punishment from the chiefs. 

First, because the husband is ashamed to publish the disgrace to the 
world by complaint ; and secondly, because he has the power of taking 
vengeance himself by beating, wounding, or even killing the man whom he 
finds in the same room with his wife, under such circumstances that adultery 
is presumable. 

Hence the seizure and punishment on the spot of the adulterer is gene- 
rally left to the injured husband. But when complaint is brought forward 
by him, that another maintains illicit intercourse with his wife, or frequents 
his house with that design, no proof of the fact is called for, but the accused 
is dismissed with reproof and threats ; and perhaps, if evidence be adduced, 
with a slight corporal punishment, imprisonment, and fine. 

Vol. III. 2 I 

210 Sir John D'Oylt's Sketch of the 


This crime was not considered as one of a very atrocious nature. In two 
or three instances in which it was committed upon female attendants of the 
palace, the offenders, who were of some rank, suffered by the King's order 
severe corporal punishments, with imprisonment, or temporary removal. 

Of other cases which occurred amongst common individuals, the Kandyan 
chiefs severally took cognizance, and sentenced the offenders to corporal 
punishment not very severe, or to imprisonment and fine. 

Assaults and Quarrels. 

These cases of course were very numerous, and were settled frequently by 
the provincial head men, and frequently by the Kandyan chiefs. 

Slight corporal punishment was sometimes inflicted, but more usually the 
offenders were punished by fine. 

In affrays there was a fixed fine of seven ridi and a half for spilling blood ) 
called lay dade. In other quarrels of mere abuse, or blows without drawing 
blood, the customary fine was three or five ridi, and if the two adverse 
parties were found to be in fault, fines were sometimes levied from both. 

Manufacturing, selling, and drinking Arrack arid Toddy. 

The use of spirituous liquors is contrary to the express precepts of their 
religion, and the practice has been often prohibited by the Kings within 
the last fifty or sixty years, as being sinful, and productive of profligacy, 
quarrels, and other crimes. 

Many instances are stated to have occurred within that period in which, 
having beer, brought to the King's notice, the offenders were punished by 
whipping through the streets of Kandy and imprisonment ; but such prac- 
tices were frequent in many parts of the country, and were punished by the 
chiefs and head men, according to their discretion, by slight corporal chas- 
tisement, imprisonment, or fine. 

This vice was also strongly prohibited. It prevailed almost exclusively 
in Kandy and its environs, within the river, and principally amongst the 
Malays. It was usually punished by whipping and imprisonment. 

Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom. 241 

Elephant Slaughter in the Upper Districts, and the Province contiguous 

to Kandy. 

All elephants are considered the property of the crown, and they are 
employed in the King's service, for his recreation, at public festivals. Hence 
the slaughter of them, especially of tusked and large elephants, is reckoned 
amongst the most heinous offences. 

It was usually punished by whipping through the streets of Kandy, and 
imprisonment in a distant province. 

But if the elephants be small and of little value, by slighter corporal 
punishment, and imprisonment in Kandy. 

In the districts surrounding Kandy, independently of this punishment, 
the Kuruwe people of Kengalle had a right to plunder the house and premises, 
and appropriate to themselves all the paddy and other moveable property 
of the offender. 

Hunting and killing of Animals. 

This practice was declared unlawful in the upper districts within the 
last fifty or sixty years, on the ground of being contrary to the precepts of 
religion ; and in some instances was punished by whipping through the 
streets of Kandy, and imprisonment in a distant village. In other cases 
which came under the cognizance of the chiefs, the transgressors escaped 
with slighter corporal punishment, or imprisonment and fine. 

The practice, however, was continued in secret, and was in fact connived 
at by the Kandyan chiefs, to whom a portion of the slain animal was usually 
presented, in neglect of which the hunter subjected himself to the penalty. 


This is a species of sorcery, and was held in general abhorrence. 

It consists in making an image or delineating a figure to represent an 
enemy, or in writing his name, and using diabolical arts, ceremonies, and 
imprecations, whereby it is believed that skilful persons have the power of 
occasioning his death, sickness, or some heavy calamity. 

It is said that in the reign of Narendrasinhe several persons suffered 
executions for this crime, and that their lands were confiscated or de- 
livered to the injured party. In the reign of the King Kikteiu, five 
persons suffered execution for having practised this sorcery against the 

King, as an act of treason. 

2 I 2 

212 Sir Josx D'Oylt's Sketch of the 

But since that period the general belief in the possession of such diabo- 
lical powers seem to have declined. 

If the proof, as usually happened, was only presumptive, the accused 
was directed to swear by oil ; and if convicted, he, according to ancient cus- 
tom, suffers death, or becomes an outcast, and his land is confiscated or 
assigned to the injured person. 

But within the last fifty or sixty years no one has suffered execution for 
this crime ; the convictions have been very few, and in no more than one 
or two instances have the lands been assigned to the adversary. 

Of late years, complaints of Huniyam are not frequently made, or still 
more rarely brought to trial. The accusers can seldom furnish proof of 
the fact, and the case is usually settled by the chief forbidding him to 
repeat the imputation. 

Slander affecting Caste. 

The infamy which attaches to loss or degradation of caste among the 
nations of India is well known. 

This may be occasioned by two distinct acts in the person of high caste. 

First, By eating in the house of people of low caste. 

Second, By a female having criminal connection with a man of low caste. 

The connection of a man of high caste with a woman of low caste entails 
no such disgrace. 

The first is considered of no great importance, and is easily overcome 
by denying or falsifying the slander, and by an order of the chief; and, if 
necessary, by receiving a pingo from the people. 

But not so the second. 

It is said that, according to ancient usage, the disgraced family had only 
one resource left for wiping away the stain, viz. by putting to death the 
offending female, which was sometimes carried into effect, and the homi- 
cide was deemed justifiable. 

But this barbarous custom was forbidden by subsequent kings, who di- 
rected that, upon such an occurrence, the parties should seek redress from 
the crown, since which time the practice has diminished ; and in several 
cases brought to the King's notice, when the fact was uotorious and unde- 
niable, the female was consigned as a slave of the crown to the royal 
village of Gampala, and the family was ordered to deliver some provision 
to the royal store, and by this act became purified. 

Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom. 243 

For many years no such homicides have occurred in the districts near 

But in the Saffregam Korles five or six instances are remembered within 
the last twenty-five or thirty years. The persons who perpetrated them 
having voluntarily come forward and declared the deed to their desavony 
chief, were imprisoned j and being reported to the Desave, were discharged 
after payment of a fine, and after no long confinement, by his order, and 
it is believed with the King's authority. 

For the reason stated in the case of adultery, such occurrences were not 
often made public. But if complaint be made that such a calumny has 
been spoken b yanother, he is sent for and examined, and usually denies 
or is made to deny the words imputed. The chief makes no enquiry to 
establish the fact, but to falsify it ; reproves him for having spoken so in 
anger or malice, and forbids him to repeat it The affair is terminated by 
directing the tainted family to deliver betel or provisions to his house, after 
which no one dares to utter a word against them. 

Murder of Children. 

The murder of children and exposure of children are said to have been 
at some periods not unfrequent, and they were committed chiefly by people 
of the poorest class, and upon one of the three following grounds. 

1st. If from mere indigence, and especially having a numerous offspring, 
the parents thought themselves incapable of maintaining them. 

2d. If any child were supposed to be born under an evil star, and hence 
to threaten misfortune to itself or to the family. 

3d. If a child were the fruit of an illicit connection, which the mother was 
ashamed to own. 

This crime was on different occasions strictly prohibited by the kings of 

But being in its nature difficult of detection it still prevailed, according to 
report, though not made public, chiefly in Walapane, Urea, and Saffregam, 
and is believed to have been of rare occurrence in the other provinces, and 
in the districts contiguous to the capital. 

I can learn one instance only of a person tried and convicted of this 
offence under the King's government, who was sentenced to severe corporal 
punishment at the Gabadaxve, and then released. 

244 Sir Johx D'Orzr's Sketch of the 


Suicide is not unfrequent amongst the Kandyans, and is frequently 
committed under such circumstances, as shew an extraordinary contempt of 
life, and at the same time a desire of revenge. 

The instances are chiefly those in which a person has suffered a trifling 
injury from another, such as if he has been slandered, if he has ineffectually 
endeavoured to obtain satisfaction for a claim, if his crops have been 
spoiled by another's cattle, or if the object of his affections has been given 
away to another. Ascending the tree, and on the point of perpetrating the 
fatal act, he proclaims aloud that such a person has done him such an injury, 
and that he dies on his account, under the idea that he shall draw down pu- 
nishment upon the person who has injured him, as being the immediate 
cause of his death. 

In such cases the person to whom the dying man imputed his death is 
called and examined with respect to the offence charged ; and if culpable, 
merely to suffer such penalty as would be awarded if no suicide had taken 

But there are also instances in which a person threatens aloud, within 
hearing of the man who had injured him, that he is about to commit suicide 
for such a cause, but without the intention of committing it, and with the 
mere view of compelling satisfaction. 

It has been observed that suicides are more frequent in Uwa and Wala- 
pane, but several instances have occurred in other provinces and in the dis- 
tricts near Kandy. 

Of Oaths. 

It is the object of oaths to obtain, in cases doubtful to human understand- 
ing, a judgment of the deity, which it is supposed will be given by a mani- 
fest sign or infliction when imprecated with solemn ceremonies. 

The following species of oaths are in most frequent use : 

1st. By hot oil. 

This oath can be administered only by authority of the Adikars in the 
districts surrounding Kandy, of the Desaves in their respective desavonies, 
and of the Wanniyars of Naxverekalasiga. 

The same power has been exercised by the principal Mohottales of Sqffre- 
«am, Seven Korles, and It is forbidden in the town of Kandy, 
and takes place either at the Dizvurum Bogaha at Ampitiye, the Bogaha at 
Ganoruxve, or the Bogaha at Gozvagodopitit/a. 

Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom, 245 

The two parties in the suit being directed to swear, abstain from all pollu- 
tions and purify themselves during three days. On the day appointed, which 
is either Wednesday or Saturday, they proceed to the house of the Adikar, 
when two olas called cfetre sitta have been properly written and prepared, 
one in the name of each party, asserting the truth of the point upon which 
his right depends, and denying the same of his adversary, declaring that he 
has employed no sorcery or medicines, and calling the gods to witness the 
truth of his words. 

They are next sent with a messenger of the Adikar to the four temples 
in Kandy, or sometimes only to that of Pattini. In presence of the 
Kapurale they offer each a tangama (eighteen pice) upon the altar, and call 
the gods to witness that the contents of the ola are true, and the Kapurale 
then invokes a manifestion of evidence. From the temple they proceed with 
three messengers to the spot where three- sticks of the lime tree are 
planted to hold the earthen vessels, in the centre of a small enclosure 
formed by stakes and white cocoa-nut leaves ; two or three cocoa-nuts are 
brought by each party. 

The oil is extracted from them and poured into the vessel, and cow-dung 
mixed with water and strained is prepared in another, and the fire kindled, 
a friend or servant from both parties assisting in all these operations. The 
officers having ascertained that the oil and cow-dung water are boiling hot by 
immersing in them a strip of white cocoa-nut leaf, each litigant advancing 
from opposite sides with the two dewe sitta bound respectively to the lower 
part of their right arms, 'breaks the fence of white olas, calling the gods to 
witness as before at the temple that the contents of the sitta are true, and 
seat themselves near the fire. 

First the plaintiff touches the burning oil with the tip of his fore or 
middle finger usually three times in succession, and sprinkles a drop or 
two upon a leaf which is placed beside it for the purpose of this proof, and 
then touches and sprinkles in like manner a little of the water impregnated 
with cow-dung ; immediately after the defendant performs the same opera- 
tion ; and the hands of both being wrapped up with a cloth tied round the 
wrist, they are conducted before the Great Court, or the Adikar or Desave 
who sent them. Here their fingers are minutely examined, and if nothing is 
perceptible, their hands are usually wrapped up a second time with, a wetted 
rag or piece of lime, and re-examined the next morning or evening, for 
the purpose of determining with greater certainty. After the examination 

246 Sir Jobk D'Otly's Sketch of the 

is terminated, they both again repair to the temple with a pi?igo of fruits, 
and become absolved from their interdiction ; if both persons, of if neither 
of them be burnt, the land is equally divided between them. If the hand of 
one only be burnt he loses the land, and both dewe sitta are delivered to the 
other, and if required a sitta of decision ; the Kapurale and officers who 
attend are entitled to fees of one ridi each, the chief to a fee of four ridi 
for the dewe sitta, and after their return from the ordeal to five or seven 
and a half ridi from both. 

Sometimes, at the desire of one or both, the parties are sent to swear at 
some celebrated temple in the country, as Embakki, Dodanwele, dlazvatugoda, 
Alutunwere, Dumbulle, and rarely Kattregam ; and sometimes in the desa- 
vonies the arms are carried from the temple to a small ornamented hut 
erected for the purpose in the disputed land, and the ceremony performed 
in the same manner. 

2d. By Paddy. 

When the faddy of the disputed field is ripe, a small sheaf is set apart 
by the possessor in presence of his adversary ; and on a day appointed by 
the chief, both parties proceed to the spot with a messenger, and the arms 
are brought from a temple to a decorated hut within it. After offering a 
small sum of money, both parties together separate the grains from the ears, 
beat out the rice in a mortar, boil it, and eat a small quantity, repeating 
frequently during the performance of all these works the dewe wasagama, 
which is brought in writing by the messenger, containing the solemn asser- 
tion of their respective rights, and imprecation that if their words be false, 
the gods will inflict a calamity upon them within seven or fourteen days, as 
the term may have been fixed. 

They depart to their homes and live with the greatest circumspection 
during the period, and at the expiration of it appear before their chief. 
They had previously declared and caused to be written any existing sick- 
ness or loss in their respective families, and each now relates any thing 
which may have befallen his adversary since the oath : and if any serious 
evil prove to have happened, as the death or sickness of himself or near 
relation, or any of his cattle ; if his crops have been spoiled, or property 
lost ; if a building or a fruit tree have fallen, he is held to have lost. 

If evil have befallen both or neither, the land is divided. After appear- 
ing they proceed to the temple from whence the arms were brought, and 
making offerings and imploring protection, become absolved as before. 

Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom. 247 

Sometimes, with a view of rendering the trial more solemn and certain, 
at the season of cultivation a small portion of the field is selected, which 
both parties plough and sow together ; and when the paddy ripens, pro- 
ceeding to the spot with a head man or messenger, reap and thrash it toge- 
ther, and perform the other processes in the manner above described. 

3d. By earthen vessels. 

With the authority of their chief both parties repair to the disputed 
field ; the person in possession sets an earthen vessel upon a frame raised on 
three cross sticks, and places a cocoa-nut on it, calling the gods to witness 
that the field belongs to him and not to his adversary, and imprecating a 
calamity, if his words be false, in seven or fourteen days. 

His adversary removes the vessel and cocoa-nut, casts away the former, 
breaks and eats the latter, repeating the like imprecations, or sometimes the 
cocoa-nut is divided between them ; and the case is judged (as in the oath by 
paddy) by the misfortune which may be proved to have befallen either 
party within the term prescribed. 

4th. By drawing white olas. 

This is practised in case of dispute regarding the limits of two adjacent 
lands. The litigants repair to the spot by order of the chief, and accompa- 
nied by his messenger, or a head man. One of them hangs a string of white 
cocoa-nut leaves upon two or three stakes planted on the line which he 
asserts to be the limit, and proceeding along it, cuts a furrow in some parts, 
and imprecating misfortune within seven or fourteen days if his words be 
false; or sometimes the string of olas is laid on the ground along the whole 
length of the limit. The other follows him immediately and removes the 
white olas, denying that it is the true limit, and lays or plants them upon his 
own asserted boundary with the like imprecation, and the case is decided as 
in the second and third modes 

5th. By striking the earth, casting mud and water. 

Sometimes without the authority of the chief, and by mutual consent, both 
parties repair to the field, and together strike the earth three times with both 
hands (or cast up mud or water into the air, and sometimes at each other), 
each calling the gods to witness that the land is his, and imprecating mis- 
fortune in seven days if his words be false. 

If a signal misfortune befall either, he will sometimes resign his claim 
without further complaint. 

Vol. III. 2 K 

24S Sir John D'Oylt's Sketch of the 

There are still two other modes which are said to have prevailed in 
ancient times, but have fallen into disuse now. 

6th. By Reepolle, or red hot iron. 

The litigant parties successively take in their hands a red hot piece of iron 
laid upon a leaf, and proceeding seven paces, cast it away ; if the hand of 
either be burnt he loses the suit. 

7th. By the ndga, or cobra de capella. 

A cobra de capella is put into a vessel with a narrow neck, and some 
silver Janams are cast in by an indifferent person. 

Each party in succession takes out the Janams with his hands ; if either be 
bitten, it is a judgment against him. 

Of Lands and Landed Tenures. 

It is well known that the service tenure prevails throughout the Kandyan 

The possession of land is the foundation of the King's right to the services 
and the contributions of the people, and vice versa. In general persons not 
possessing lands are liable to no regular service or duties, but in some in- 
stances to light and occasional service. Lands which properly subject the pos- 
sessor to regular public services and contributions are low -paddy lands, 
which can be cultivated every year, but not (with some few exceptions) 
gardens or high grounds ; and Lekam Miti or registers of persons liable to 
regular service are kept in the hands of the chiefs of the provinces of many 
departments, to which they respectively belong. He who openly abandons 
his land (which sometimes occurred, particularly in the latter years of the 
late King's reign, on account of the severity of the duty) is no longer called 
upon to perform service or to pay duties. Service land thus abandoned is 
strictly the property of the Crown, and in some instances the King has exer- 
cised this right by taking the crops and by regranting the land. But accord- 
ing to more general custom, the crop is appropriated or disposed of by the 
chief of the province, village, or department in which the land is situated ; or 
it is regranted by him to another, subject to the same service, frequently on 
payment of a suitable fee. Land abandoned, if reclaimed by the original 
proprietor or even by his heir, is usually restored on payment of a suitable 
fee, unless it has been definitively granted to another, or possessed many years 
by another family performing service. No person retaining his land can 

Constitution of the Randy an Kingdom. 249 

without the King's permission change his service, that is, abandon his pro- 
per department and service and resort to another. 

All lands are alieuable by the proprietor, but continue liable to the same 
service ; hence persons of high caste seldom purchase tbe lands of the low 
classes, especially if the service be thatrof any handicraft or menial descrip- 

All service lands may descend to or be acquired by females, who either 
pay a commutation in money, or, if required, provide a substitute to per- 
form personal service. 

Rajakarya, which may be properly interpreted King's duty, implies either 
the personal service, or the dues in money or in kind, to which any person 
or any land is liable. 

Personal service was in many instances commuted for a money payment, 
which was considered the legal perquisite of the chief. 

1st. Universally, in the case of the Alapatta and Heasa Wasam people, and 
Rodituwakka people of the desavonies ; of the Lekam people, or persons of 
some other departments in the upper districts, who perform in rotation re- 
gular mura, or duty at the house of their chief or at other fixed stations, all 
absentees beyond the number required to attend paying a fixed sum called 
mura ridi, which will vary in different places and departments from one to 
five ridi each, for fifteen, twenty, or thirty days. 

2d. In the case of the same, and other persons, who were obliged to attend 
at public festivals at Kandy, and who paid to their chiefs each a fixed sum 
for failure. 

3d. In case of the classes above-mentioned, some others when called upon 
to furnish timbers, erect buildings, or perform other public service ; all 
absentees, whether excused by favour, or disabled by sickness, or witheld by 
urgent private concerns, pay a commutation in money called higa. 

The chief being held responsible for the expeditious performance of the 
works assigned to him, the king seldom inquired minutely the number 

Hence will appear the reason upon which is founded the practice above- 
mentioned, of the chief receiving the crops or the emoluments to be 
derived from vacant service lands. But he could only dispense with the 
personal service, for it was an invariable rule, that the chief enjoying the 
benefit of the crops must deliver to the royal store the revenue chargeable 
upon the lands. 

2 K 2 

250 Sir Johx D'Otly's Sketch of the 

Every field, with few exceptions, has attached to it a garden, and a. jungle 
ground called hena, which as a matter of course are inherited and transferred 
with it. 

No specific farm of years constitutes a prescriptive title to land, notwith- 
standing a vulgar saying which attaches validity to thirty years. But an 
undisturbed possession of many years is considered in all cases as a strong 
presumptive proof in favour of the possessor. 

Of the Species of Lands. 

The Singalese word game properly signifies villages ; but in the Kandyan 
country it is also frequently applied to a single estate or a single field. 

The latter is often called panguxoa or share. 

Villages, properly so called, are of the following kinds : 

Gabada-Game, a royal village. 

It may be generally described as containing mullettu lands, which the 
inhabitants cultivate gratuitously, and entirely for the benefit of the crown ; 
and other lands which the inhabitants possess, in consideration of their cul- 
tivating the mullettu, or rendering certain other services to the crown. 

Wiharc Game, a village belonging, to a temple of Buddha. 

Dewale Game,a, village belonging to a temple of some heathen deity. 

Vidane Game, a village under the order of a Vidan, and containing usually 
people of low caste, liable to public services. 

Ninda Game, a village which for the time being is the entire property of 
the grantee or temporary chief; if definitively granted by the King, with 
sannas, it becomes parveny. 

It generally contains a midlettu field, which the inhabitants, in considera- 
tion of their lands, cultivate gratuitously for the benefit of the grantee ; and 
besides are liable to the performance of certain other services for him. 

Gallat Game, a species of villages in the lower part of the Four Korles, the 
Third Korle, a part of Saffregam, much in the nature of a Ninda village, and 
sometimes bearing that name. 

Other villages and lands, which it is unnecessary to specify here, are deno- 
minated from the department to which they belong, as KuruweGame, or Pan- 
duwa MuUenge Game, or Pandwtoa* 

Kela is a royal field or land sown on account of the Crown. 

In royal villages it is the same as the mullettu. 

Parveny land is that which is the private property of an individual pro- 

Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom. 251 

prietor, land long possessed by his family, but so called also, if recently 
acquired in fee simple. 

All lands in the Kandyan country being subject to service, the distinction 
of service Parveny is still known. 

Mullettu land is that field which is sown on account of the King or other 
proprietor, temporary grantee, or chief of a village, as distinguished from the 
fields of the other inhabitants of the village, who are liable to perform ser- 
vices or render dues. 

Mullettu land is of two kinds, viz. : 

1st. Ninda Mullettu, which is sown entirely gratuitously for the bene6t of 
the proprietor, grantee, or chief, by other persons, in consideration of the 
lands which they possess. 

2d. Ande Mullettu, which is sown by any one without obligation, on the 
usual condition of giving half the crop to the proprietor. 

Nila Panduwa, is the land possessed on condition of cultivating the Mul- 
lettu, or performing other menial service or both, for the proprietor, grantee, 
or chief of a village. The possessor of such land is called Nilakaraya. In 
some instances he is the proprietor, and cannot be displaced so long as he 
performs the service ; in others, a tenant at will and removable at pleasure. 

Asweddume, or Delapata, is land lately brought into cultivation as a field, or 
more recently than the original field. In most instances the Asweddume of 
one person is not of any considerable extent. 

In the royal villages and the Vidane villages, and in some other instances 
in the upper districts, the possessors of them perform some King's service, 
but not so much as the proprietors of original lands. 

If cultivated by a stranger from the estate of another, particularly in the 
desavunies, he pays by agreement to the proprietor a small annual sum, and 
besides assists him in country work, and attends him on a journey, receiv- 
ing victuals ; unless inscribed, as rarely happens, in the Lekam Miliya, he 
performs no public service for it. If cultivated by the proprietor perform- 
ing service, he is liable to no extra service for it. 

Pidawilla is land offered by individuals to temples, and there are many of 
this description in all parts of the country. They are usually Asweddume of 
small extent, more rarely small portions of the original service land. 

It is held, that in the upper districts they should properly not be offered 
without the King's permission ; but it was sometimes done only with the 
leave of the chief. In the desavonies they are usually offered with the con- 

252 Sir John D'Otlt's Sketch, §c. 

sent of the Desave ; but sometimes without it, if of trifling extent As no 
King's service or revenues are diminished by the act, the King's sanction 
was deemed less important. 

Purappadu Land is land vacant, or without owner. Land becomes Pu- 
rappadu either in failure of heirs, or by abandonment, or by forfeiture ; but 
if taken to the crown, as usual in the latter case, it is called Gabada Game. 

Anda Land is that which is delivered by the proprietor to another to cul- 
tivate, on condition of delivering to him half the crop as rent ; this is the 
usual condition on which fertile fields are annually let. 

Olu is of three kinds. 

1st A portion of the crop equal to the extent sown, or to one and a half, 
or double the extent sown, in some paddy fields or chenas. It is the usual 
share paid to the proprietor by the cultivator from fields which are barren, 
or difficult of protection from wild animals, particularly in the Seven Korles, 
Sqffregam Hewahele, and some chenas in Harispaita. In many royal vil- 
lages in the Seven Korles are lands paying otu to the Crown. 

2d. The share of one-third paid from a field of tolerable fertility, or from 
a good chena sown with paddy. 

3d. The share which the proprietor of a chena sown by another with fine 
grains cuts first from the ripe crop, being one large basket full, or a man's 

Hena (or, as it is commonly called, chena) is high jungle ground, in which 
the jungle is cut and burnt for manure after intervals of from five to four- 
teen years, and the paddy called elrci, or fine grains, or cotton, and sometimes 
roots and other vegetables are cultivated ; after two, or at the most three 
crops, it is abandoned till the jungle grows again.